Nigeria’s senior basketball team, D’Tigers have booked a place in the semi finals of the ongoing Africa basketball championship for men taking place in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Yesterday, in the quarter final clash decided between Nigeria and men from the Central African Republic, the Nigerian men emerged victorious 94-86 points. The team which has never won the championship but reached the finals three times in 1997, 1999 and 2003 will play tomorrow for a place in the last two.
The so far unbeaten team is gunning for double honours in the competition. First, the Nigerian team is eyeing breaking the jinx of winning the coveted trophy for the first time as well as grabbing the sole ticket for the 2012 London Olympics.
The Ayo Bakari tutored boys won the first quarter 28-19 points, second 20-18, third 25-20 before losing the fourth 21-29. Derrick Obasohan, contributed 24 points, Ime Udoka 20 points, Michael Umeh 19, Ejike Ugboaja 10 points, Abubakar Usman 9 points and Olumide Oyedeji 4 points.
James Mays of Central African Republic got 21 points for his team while Max Kouguere, Michael Mokongo, Maxine Zianveni and Regis Koundjia contributed 12, 11, 12 and 12 points respectively.
Nigeria head coach, Ayo Bakare praised his players’ fighting spirit and promised that the Nigerian side will approach the semi-final game with utmost seriousness. He gave kudos to the Central African side for giving the Nigeria side a good fight, adding that the 26th edition of the championship was indeed tough as most African countries have raised their games.