D’ Tigress Can Still Qualify For Rio, Says Ogunjimi
D’Tigress Captain, Helen Ogunjimi, has said even though her side finished third after beaten Angola 65-55 in the losers’ final during the just-concluded AfroBasket Women in Cameroon, there is still every chance that it can still make it to the Olympics through the play-off.
With the victory over Angola, Nigeria clinched the last spot available for the Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament to be played next year where five countries will join others for the tournament.
This is even as huge cloud hangs on the possibility of D’Tigress participating in the play-off where other qualifiers for the Rio Games will emerge due to financial commitments involved.
Nigeria will be contending with France, Spain, Belarus, Turkey and Cuba for slots at the foremost sporting event on earth.
Others to play in the play-off include Argentina, Venezuela, China, South Korea, New Zealand and Cameroon.
Speaking to the media after Nigeria beat Angola to the bronze medal, Ogunjimi said as long as the federation (NBBF) is ready for the team, the players will respond and do their best towards the country’s participation in the Olympics.
“We are not happy that we finished third in the tournament because our main aim was to go all out and conquer the continent like our males,” she said.
“Now we have to fight for Olympic ticket with other countries; that was not what we bargained for in the championship.
“But the situation will not deter us, as we set our eyes on fighting with for the ticket with the rest of the countries if the federation asks us to go,” she said.
The Bandar Abbas of Iran guard, however, praised her mates and Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) for the support during the champion, saying Nigerians should not lose hope on the team.
“I was really impressed with the commitment of my team mates at the Afrobasket women championship. Also, the support from the federation was okay; the only thing I ask is that Nigerians should not lose hope on this squad because we have so much to offer the country.”