D’Tigress players have set their sights on clinching one of the available tickets on offer when they begin their Olympics Qualifiers Tournament campaign against Mozambique on Thursday.
Having missed the 2016 Olympic games in Brazil, the high flying team currently ranked 17th in the world on the back of a quarter final finish at the World cup and two back to back Afrobasket wins are motivated to start on a winning note.
Team captain, Adaora Elonu said the game against fellow African team, Mozambique is a must win as they are determined to get the job done within the quickest possible time frame.
“We don’t want to put Nigerians through the harrowing experience of permutation and calculating whether we have to beat Serbia or USA if we lose against Mozambique in our opening game.”
Elonu was quick to rule out the possibilities of the team getting complacent when they face Mozambique at the Aleksandar Nikolic Hall in Belgrade.
It would be recalled that D’Tigress in 2019 defeated Mozambique in Maputo during the pre-qualifiers by 57-48 points with Elonu emerging top performer for the team with 12 points, 9 rebounds and 1 assist.
The Flammes Carolo of France Power Forward, Evelyn Akhator said, “We are aware of the task ahead of us and the expectations back home in Nigeria and amongst our fans across the world.”
Popularly known as the double-double Queen, Akhator reiterated that, “With our rising profile in global basketball, our presence at the 2020 Olympics is not negotiable. We must do what we have to do to get what is expected of us.”
Multiple Afrobasket winner and 34 year old Aisha Mohammed Balarabe rumoured to be eyeing retirement from the national team fold said, “If it is to give the last pint of our blood while playing Mozambique tomorrow, we shall.”
Winner of the clash will book an automatic ticket to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
By: Hanifat Mustapha