Nigeria’s final squad lists have been released for the men and women’s basketball events at this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, megasportsarena.com reports.
This follows long and thorough scrutiny by coaches of both sides, Mike Brown for the men (D’Tigers) and Otis Hughley for the women (D’Tigress).
Bother coaches expressed enthusiasm that their chosen players would be able to justify their inclusions in the respective squads and go all the way towards making Nigerians proud at the Games starting this Friday in Tokyo.
D’Tigers’ 12-player list, which is a product of about a month of camping in Sacramento and Las Vegas, USA, has Josh Okogie from Minnesota Timberwolves as well as Miami Heat’s trio of Gabe Vincent, KZ Okpala and Precious Achiuwa.
Also listed are Jahlil Okafor (Detroit Pistons) and Miye Oni (Utah Jazz) in line to make their debuts for Nigeria, alongside the retained lot of Jordan Nwora (Milwaukee Bucks), Caleb Agada (Hapoel Be’er Sheva), Obi Emegano (Fuenlbrada, Spain), Chimezie Metu (Sacramento Kings) and Ike Nwamu (Samara, Russia).
The team, which recorded wins in recent friendlies against USA (world number 1) and Argentina (number four) before a loss to Australia in their last tune-up game, also has Ekpe Udoh, who is still fresh from his move to Virtus Bologna of Italy.
D’Tigers, who will battle Italy, Australia and Germany in the same group, are rated fourth on the latest FIBA power ranking, thereby setting them up as one of the teams to watch out for as likely medal winners at the Tokyo 2020 basketball event.
In similar vein, D’Tigress will have Adaora Elonu, Aisha Balarabe, Elizabeth Balogun, Promise Amukamara, Atonye Nyingifa, Ezinne Kalu, Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpannah and Ify Ibekwe, all regulars for Hughley, who led the team to the 2019 Afrobasket win in Senegal.
They will play alongside Oderah Chidom, Victoria Macaulay, Erica Ogwumike and Amy Okonkwo, who are in line to make their competitive debuts for Nigeria in Tokyo, ahead of which they had five months of intensive training in Atlanta, USA.
The duration has been cited as the longest ever in Nigeria’s basketball preparations, as D’Tigress opened camping in February, but lost their last build-up match against Team USA, who they will open their Games’ fixtures against on July 27, before also playing versus France and host nation, Japan.