The Nigeria Basketball Federation has traced the qualification of D’Tigress to the immense support of the President, Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, and millions of Nigerian basketball lovers all over the world.
Following the senior women’s national team’s return to the Olympics after 16 years of absence, the board said without the support of the Federal Government, prosecuting the qualifiers would have been difficult.
NBBF president, Musa Ahmadu-Kida, said, “We thank the President for his fatherly role and support all through this journey to book an Olympic Games ticket. The minister also played a major role through his timely interventions, encouragement and the keen interest he developed towards basketball in Nigeria since assuming office.”
Ahmadu-Kida also praised the fans for their support for D’Tigers and D’Tigress all through the qualifiers.
“This long journey was made easier by the fans who showed resilience and were relentless in their support for the two national teams. I am overwhelmed by the number of calls and text messages I have received since the teams qualified.”
Meanwhile, Dare communicated with the team on Saturday via telephone, through the NBBF president immediately after their 2020 Olympic Games’ ticket was confirmed. He congratulated them for doing Nigerians proud.
The D’Tigress qualified for the Olympic Games after two games at the Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament in Serbia.
The defeated Mozambique 85-51 in their first game on Thursday, before losing 70-64 to the hosts in their second group game on Saturday.
Mozambique’s 124-49 loss to the US in their second group game on Saturday.
He promised that adequate arrangements would be put in place to prepare the team for the 2020 Olympics as they continue their journey in making history.
The record-breaking feat saw the men and women national teams qualifying for the same Olympics for the first time.
Meanwhile, D’Tigress lost narrowly 76-71 to USA in their final Group A at the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament on Sunday.
The American team came back to win the game after trailing D’Tigress in each of the first three quarters.
The Nigerian side won the first two quarters, 21-20 and 19-6, and were ahead in the game 57-50 at the end of the third quarter, after going behind 24-17 in that quarter.
They also lost the fourth quarter 26-14 to suffer a 76-71 defeat in the hands of the Americans.
Ezinne Kalu was D’Tigress top performer as she churned out 17 points, four rebounds and eight assists in the defeat.
She also capped a fine FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade making the all-star team.
Others in the all-star team are Nneka Ogwumike, A’ja Wilson, Ana Dabovic and Leia Dongue.