Nigeria’s D’Tigers secured top spot in Group A of the 2023 FIBA World Cup African qualifiers with a dominant 95-69 win over Uganda in their final game of the just concluded first window of the first qualifying phase in Angola on Sunday.
Nigeria dominated all four quarters with captain Ike Diogu once again his side’s best performer scoring 6/7 from beyond the arc to finish with a double-double of 27 points and 10 rebounds.
The victory saw D’Tigers emerge top of their group on five points, level with Mali who beat Cape Verde 64-58 in the group’s other game. Both Uganda and Cape Verde finished with four points apiece with the latter occupying bottom place.
D’Tigers had four players in double figures with Omotayo Jordan and Keith Omoerah pouring in eleven points while Ben Uzoh and Ugonna Kingsley Onyenso added ten points each.
Brandon Davies top-scored for the Ugandans with 22 points and Jimmy Enabu who scored ten points was the only other player to reach double figures for the East Africans.
Sunday’s victory capped an impressive outing for D’Tigers who had to battle numerous off-court issues just to make the tournament.
With the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) currently embroiled in a destabilising faceoff with the Sports Ministry, the long-serving Diogu assumed responsibility, assembled the team and ensured their participation at the tournament.
They only arrived Angola on the morning of their opening game and the effects could be seen as they lost to Cape Verde after a fourth-quarter collapse.
D’Tigers coached by ex-international and former NBA star Julius Nwosu showed incredible mettle and admirable spirit to rebound from the disappointing opening day loss to claim consecutive wins against Mali (72-70) and Uganda to top their group ahead of the second window of the first qualifying phase.
Sixteen teams, divided into four groups, are currently involved in the first round of qualifiers which will hold in three windows with the top three teams from each group qualifying for the next qualifying round.
The second window of the first qualifying round is scheduled to hold from 21 February – 1 March 2022.
The 2023 FIBA Men’s Basketball World Cup will hold from 25 August to 10 September 2023 in Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.