Tijani Umar, President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), has assured that the federation would do all within its power to ensure that the women national team prepares adequately ahead of the Rio Olympic qualifiers in France.
Umar, while speaking to Independent, said D’Tigress’ camp would open in May ahead of the June qualifiers, assuring that new players, who could not be part of the AfroBasket Women in Yaoundé, Cameroon, due to club commitment, would join the team.
“We have almost finalised programmes for both the women and men team and we are going to make it public very soon. We already have additional high-quality players, who were not available during AfroBasket Women in Cameroon due to club commitment.
“They have indicated interest to be part of the Olympic qualifiers. Their intention is to see if they can improve the chances of the team to qualify for the Olympics.
“So you can see that we’re planning for a bigger and stronger outing with the additional talents.
“This also would have taking care of some observations from our coaches about our shortcomings of not out rightly winning the championship in Cameroon and also qualifying for the Olympics out rightly.
“This is because we were actually in the position to win the AfroBasket Women. For instance, Senegal that won the championship lost to us with 15 points in the group stage. Cameroon beat us by only one point despite playing at home,” he said.
Umar assured that the additional players and the camping, which will open next month, would help to put the women in good shape ahead of the qualifiers, where Nigeria is grouped alongside Belaru and South Korea. D’Tigress finished third in the AfroBasket Women in Cameroon.