After weeks of training which started in Atlanta and ended in Turkey, African Champions, D’Tigress of Nigeria will start their 2018 FIBA Women’s World Basketball Cup campaign against Australia on Saturday.
The match begins at 12:30am Nigerian time. D’Tigress who are ranked 34th in the world by FIBA will square up against world number 4, Australia at the San Cristobal de La Laguna, Santiago Martin Arena in Tenerife.
Without any previous record of meeting, both sides’ target will be starting the tournament on a strong note with a win.
Reacting before the game, D’Tigress Head coach Otis Hughley is confident of his team’s readiness to confront any opposition.
“We were born ready for this. There is no point in coming to such events like this just to add to the numbers.
“We have done what we should have done within the time allowed for training and the general consensus in the team is that we are good to go.”
D’Tigress having enjoyed an unprecedented support from the leadership of the Nigeria Basketball Federation are determined to repay the faith with world class performance at the highest stage of world basketball.
Team captain, Adaora Elonu said is grateful to the NBBF for their support. “We can’t thank the federation enough for this level of preparation. I have been around the national team set up for a while and I can confidently say this is the first time we’ve had this type of preparation.”
She said the team is not under pressure heading into their first game as she promised that the girls are determined to try their best at the World Cup.
Besiktas of Turkey player, Evelyn Ahkator while echoing her team mates’ belief said that as African Champions, the onus lies on them not just to fly the Nigerian flag alone but that of every other basketball playing nation in Africa.
“In 2017, nobody believed we could win the Afrobasket in Mali. It is our time to prove to the world that Nigeria is not a push over.”
The team will be hoping to make history as the first African team to win a world cup match and also record their first victory at the world stage.