Women’s AfroBasket 2021 – Team Profile: Nigeria
Temps de lecture : 2 mn 🕗
ABUJA (Nigeria) – When it comes to Nigeria, the inevitable question is whether or not D’Tigress can become the first team to win a three-peat since Senegal conquered Africa from 1974 to 1984.
Back then, Senegal won five African Championships in a row.
Nigeria finished on the top of the podium of Women’s AfroBasket in 2017 in Bamako and 2019 in Dakar.
What next for Nigeria in Yaounde, a stage where they finished third in 2015?
Here are some key facts about Nigeria:
FIBA Ranking Women: (No.16 in the World); (No.1 in Africa, August 2021)
Last participation in the Women’s AfroBasket: 2019 in Dakar, Senegal (5 games, 5 wins).
Best result at AfroBasket: African champions as winners in 2003, 2005, 2017 and 2019.
How they qualified for the Women’s AfroBasket 2021: Nigeria were awarded automatic qualification as defending champions.
World: Nigeria played at the Olympics twice in 2004 and 2020. D’Tigress made their FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in 2006 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Youth players impact: In terms of young players, Nigeria have not run short of this as the likes of Elizabeth Balogun, Erica Ogwumike, Amy Okonkwo and Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpannah are some of the key players that still have a long future with D’Tigress.
Though the national league in Nigeria remains a key nursery for young players, none of them was a part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
History/Qualification: Nigeria’s trip to the Women’s AfroBasket tournament started in 1974 when the team went to Tunis, Tunisia and finished in fifth place.
Their next appearance was in 1981 in Senegal where the country finished seventh. In 1997, Nigeria won their first medal after finishing third.
After the 1997 third-place win, Nigeria took another break skipping the 2001 edition in Tunisia but returned with a bang in Mozambique in 2003 to win gold and retained it when it hosted the 2005 edition.
Since then, Nigeria have maintained some level of consistency in attendance of all the other editions in Senegal 2007 (5th place), Madagascar 2009 (5th place), Mali 2011 (4th place), Mozambique 2013 (6th place).
Key Players: The key players on the Nigeria team mostly play professional basketball in Europe with some playing college basketball in the US.
Ezinne Kalu, Adaora Elonu, Victoria Macaulay and Evelyn Akhator have been the engine of the Nigerian team.
Kalu was named the Women’s AfroBasket 2019 Most Valuable Player.
Rising Star: Elizabeth Balogun made her debut for Nigeria at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
New addition: Erica Ogwumike made her debut with Nigeria at Tokyo 2020.
Head coach: American Otis Hughley Jr. was appointed by the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF) in 2018 as the head coach of the national team for the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018 in Spain.
He helped Nigeria secure an Eighth-Place finish in Tenerife – the best result by any African nation in the history of the competition.
He also helped Nigeria retain the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket title in 2019. Hughley replaced his fellow American Sam Vincent.
Outlook: Nigeria after the poor run at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (3 games, 3 losses) will endeavour to redeem their image by putting up a good show in Cameroon.
Nigeria would would make history if they win three African titles in title, which would be the most after Senegal.
Nigeria are in Group B and will square off against Mozambique and Angola.