Olympic qualifiers: D’Tigress know opponents Oct 5


African champions D’Tigers will know their group opponents in the upcoming Olympic qualifying tournament on October 5, Saturday PUNCH reports.

The Nigerian side qualified for the final stage of the qualifiers in August when they emerged as the Women’s Afrobasketball Champions in Rwanda beating Senegal 84-74 in a thrilling final to emerge champions of Africa for the fourth consecutive time.

Nigeria’s Amy Okonkwo who finished the final with 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 assists, was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

The meeting on Saturday was the fourth time both countries have battled each other with Nigeria claiming victory on all the occasions.

The first encounter time they faced off was in 2005 with a 64-57 win in favour of the champions, they met again in 2017 and it was another 65-48 victory for them before another 60-55 win for the D’Tigress in 2019.

The most recent victory made Nigeria only the second team ever, after Senegal, to win four consecutive titles and they did so in style by extending their unbeaten run to 23 games.

Aside from that, the head coach of D’Tigress, Rena Wakama, also made history as the first female coach to win the competition since it began in 1966. After 57 years of male supremacy in women’s basketball in Africa, Wakama is a welcome and exciting change.

She had a brief playing career before joining the D’Tigress in 2015, right after she graduated from college. She travelled to Cameroon with D’Tigress for the 2015 Women’s Afrobasket competition, where Nigeria placed third. Due to a missed registration deadline, according to Wakama, her name was not listed on the Nigerian national roster for that competition.

Before starting her coaching career, Wakama competed for Nigeria’s First Bank at the FIBA Africa Champions Cup for Women.

D’Tigress who are now ranked as the 11th team globally last lost a game in the Women’s AfroBasket in 2015 against Cameroon in the semi-finals.

According to the update from FIBA, the draw will take place on Thursday, October 5 in Hungary.

The dominance of D’Tigress in the Afrobasket Championship has solidified their reputation as a force to be reckoned with on the international stage. With their sights set on even greater achievements, the team continues to inspire aspiring basketball players across Africa.