With Nigeria’s national men’s basketball team, D’Tigers, just a win away from securing the sole ticket reserved for an African team for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, head coach Alex Nwora and Power Forward Al Farouq Aminu have set their sights on clinching the desired victory when D’Tigers take on 2019 FIBA World Cup hosts China in their final classification match on Sunday, 10 September.
D’Tigers missed out on a place in the second round of the tournament when they could only win one of three group games but retained the chance to secure Olympics qualification after fellow African sides Tunisia, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal and Angola also made first round exits.
With the Olympics slot awarded to the the highest placed African team, D’Tigers currently lead the pack after an impressive 83-66 points victory over fierce West African rivals Cote D’Ivoire in their first classification game on Friday.
And after swatting aside the Ivorians, head coach Alex Nwora says the team’s focus is now on doing one over hosts China.
“I think we did a good job to contain a well coached Ivorian team. I am proud of these guys and their efforts. I think we have one more game to worry about against China on Sunday,” he said.
Al-Farouq Aminu who grabbed 13 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists and was named Most Valuable Player in the demolition of Cote D’Ivoire said after failing to reach their goal of securing a medal at the World Cup, the team’s resolved to ensure the consolatory prize of automatic qualification for the Olympics.
“We got knocked out of the contention to get a medal so we had to change our vision and continue to make sure that we keep Nigerian basketball, playing every year and compete. So, we want to make sure that we do the best job to qualify for the Olympics.”
D’Tigers play China by 1pm Nigerian time at the Guangzhou Gymnasium and require a victory to clinch a place at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Tunisia take on fellow Africans Angola while Cote D’Ivoire tackle South Korea in the 9am tipoff on Sunday.