Following the official draw ceremony of the 2020 Olympics Qualifying tournament held at the Patrick Baumann House of Basketball, FIBA headquarters on Wednesday, D’Tigress forward Evelyn Akhator has expressed her feelings after the Afrobasket Champions gets their opponents in the tournament.
Nigeria have been drawn with host Serbia, Mozambique and 2018 World Champions the United States of America.
All teams were drawn into one of the four assigned host cities of either Belgrade (Serbia), Bourges (France), Foshan (China) or Ostende (Belgium).
Speaking to the Media before her departure to France to seal the deal with her new club Flamino Corola, Evelyn Akhator is optimistic about Nigeria’s qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
“The draw is in our favour. I’m sure we can qualify out of our group and taking out USA that have automatically qualified, just two left to go through. I am confident we can make it to Tokyo. The probability is 90% to 10% but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t come ready because the ticket will not be handed to us freely.” She said.
Regardless of what happens in the qualifiers, the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup champions, USA and the hosts of the Olympic Games, Japan have automatically qualified.
USA mauled the D’Tigress 71-40 at the San Cristobal de La Laguna, Spain a game no Nigerian player scored in double figures.
Akhator made just eight points and five rebounds while top performer for Nigeria in the game, 2019 Afrobasket MVP Ezinne Kalu scored eight points, four rebounds, six assists and five steals against the Americans.
The 2018 Nigerian Sports Awards Sports Woman of the year won’t forget the game in a hurry and according to her, she desires another chance to play against the USA.
With her wish coming through as a result of the draws, Akhator said she got her prayers answered and can’t wait to face the United States.
“I’m not going to lie, I’ve always wanted to play USA and I did wish for us to play them again and I believe God answered that prayer of mine.”
With the USA already through to the Tokyo Olympics, Serbia, Nigeria and Mozambique will battle for the two available slots from Belgrade when the competition starts on February 6.
By: Hanifat Mustapha