D’Tigers In Rwanda: Out Of Depth And Out Of Luck
Six years ago, the national basketball team D’tigers won the Afrobasket for the first time and in 2021 it all came crashing down in Rwanda when the Nigerian national basketball Team lost to Uganda in a quarterfinal playoff game.
How did they move from getting to the top in 2015 to losing out to lowly rated Uganda in 2021?
Three Afrobaskets, Three Roster
For the umpteenth time again, Nigeria is presenting a totally new squad for the Afrobasket.
A lot of fans expected a percentage of the Olympic squad to make the trip to Rwanda but Club schedule wouldn’t allow.
This is not the first time Nigeria will be presenting a totally new squad for the Afrobasket.
Although the reason varies, a third straight Afrobasket and a third straight roster for the D’Tigers since 2015.
The administrative problems that bedevilled the federation in Nigeria almost scuttle the revolution that started with roster that qualified for the Olympics in 2012.
Some players of the team decided to reject the invitation of the faction and this led to a whole new set of players turning out for the D’Tigers in Tunisia.
Also the board wanted to do away with the former coach Will Voigt and appointed their own man, Alex Nwora to coach the D’tigers.
In comes the new Man and in-comes a brand new roster to play for the team showing depth.
2017 Afrobasket: A Depth In Disguise.
Meanwhile, It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the new roster made the finals with excellent displays.
They eventually lost to Tunisia but that move showed the depth in Nigeria’s talent pool.
While many may celebrate it as the depth of the team maybe this time they eventually ran out of luck.
Coach Mike Brown took a totally unique roster from the NBA stars to the Olympics.
He was left with another roster with less number of days to prepare and prosecute the 2021 Afrobasket in Rwanda.
Hope rising for Nigeria in terms of depth but despair in terms of continuity to build a culture of a unique set of players for basketball in the country.
Sources say the NBBF got an option to either pick the Olympics or the Afrobasket.
Weighing the ‘importance’ of both competitions, the NBBF picked the Olympics.
The Olympics also gave the country an opportunity to tie down the NBA stars for the country.
Also in-house crack is been reported to have developed after the regulars who were dropped from the Olympic party.
Reports suggests they didn’t agree to be fall back options for the AFROBASKET.
The FIBA-Africa Angle
FIBA Africa’s rigid nature and failure to recognize the effect of COVID-19 on the Olympics by shifting the Afrobasket.
So, the decision also affected the availability of some key players, coaches and the NBBF in adequately getting the players ready.
Now there’s a new future to build.
The success of the friendly match against United States reveals a lot about what they can achieve but they are not there yet.
In terms of consistency, d’tigers have got their work cut-out and the NBBF will need to take a look at their program again.
The failure In Rwanda threw-up some interesting players to look out for in the future.
Players like Utomi, Emegolu and Domingo might continue their adventure with the D’Tigers.