D’Tigers and D’Tigress have been set a target of finishing in the medal places at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by Nigerian Basketball Federation president Musa Kida.
Nigeria will have two national teams in the basketball event at an Olympics for the first time in history and Kida says both teams will not be in Tokyo just to make up the numbers.
Kida believes that the talent pool in both sides compares favourably with the world’s leading teams and has backed them to bring home Africa’s first-ever Olympics basketball medal.
“D’Tigers and D’Tigresses are teams that have the true spirit of Nigerians in them which is the spirit to win and perform optimally,” Kida told journalists recently.
“They are going to perform extremely well and may go ahead to shock the world again and this will be an excellent outing.”
Ranked number one in Africa and 14th in the world, D’Tigress will be making a return to the games after their last outing in 2004 in Athens, Greece while the men ranked first in Africa and 23rd in the world are making a return after the Rio 2016 Games.
The NBBF recently appointed associate head coach of NBA side Golden State Warriors Mike Brown to take charge of D’Tigers at the Olympics and further good news followed with the announcement that New Orleans Pelicans centre Jahlil Okafor will don the country’s jersey at the games.
D’Tigress under the tutelage of American Otis Hughley have come on in leaps and bounds and offered a glimpse into what can be possible when they nearly defeated world and Olympics champions the USA at the Olympics Qualification Tournament in Belgrade.
With Nigerians in confident mood ahead of the games, the NBBF president expressed confidence in the expected playing personnel and backroom staff that will fly the nation’s flag in Tokyo.
“The prospects are brighter with the technical crew of D’Tigers that we have right now. The players we intend to invite include our players in the domestic league. We are going to have an array of a formidable team and we will shock the world.”
The 2020 Summer Games will hold from Friday, 24 July to Sunday, 9 August.