Nigeria’s women basketball national team, D’Tigress star, Adara Eleonu has opined that the country can rule the continental scene for up to 50 years if they put in place a virile youth development programme.
Megasportsarena.com reports that Elonu stated as much in the wake of D’Tigress’ third straight conquest of the FIBA African Basketball Championship fondly called Afrobasket 2021.
She downplayed her emergence as most valuable player of the competition that ended last weekend in Yaoundé, Cameroon, insisting it would not have been possible without untiring contributions from her teammates, and then stressed that they cannot afford to relax.
With that in view, Elonu, whose 12 points in the final were accompanied by 13 from Ezinne Kalu and 15 off Victoria Macaulay, added that was delighted with the way in which she and her colleagues won a fifth overall title for Nigeria.
Elonu, who plays for Uni Girona CB of Spain, following stints with Hapoel Galil Elyon, Beroil–Ciudad de Burgos, CB Conquero, CB Avenida and Atlanta Dream, interjected that she is eyeing a strong future for Nigeria in the African sector.
The former college basketball star at Texas A&M of USA, with which she won the 2011 NCAA Championship, further enthused that she loved being part of the roster that helped D’Tigress became the second side to win three African titles in a row by beating Mali 70-59 on Sunday.
The win means Nigeria join Senegal in achieving the treble feat, but with a more recent surge than the record 11-time champions that won four straight championship titles between 1974 and 1981.
Nonetheless, Elonu is satisfied with the form displayed by D’Tigress, who are Africa’s highest-ranked side and led 22-11 after the first quarter of Sunday’s final, then never looked back, with the Malians only managing to slightly close the gap in the final quarter when it was too late.
Elonu posited: “If we continue our development, invest in our teams and youth division – and take control of that – we can be strong for the next two, 10, 50 years.
“The things I stressed to the team most was we have to play together, as a team. We have great leaders on the team, we get our message across.
“You can’t win MVP without your team and my team was a big part of that award. Sharing the ball and moving without the ball, none of that looks good if your team-mates don’t look good.”