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Nigerian basketball: From beating USA to begging for Olympic package – NewsEverything Africa

Nigeria basketballer Caleb Agada (right) takes on the USA's Darius Garland
Caleb Agada (proper) scored 17 factors as his Nigeria group beat the USA 90-87 in a pre-Olympic recreation

Nigeria males’s basketball group could also be celebrating two large wins in three days in pre-Olympic matches, however the group could possibly be with out their official package for the Tokyo Video games.

On Saturday, the 2015 African champions surprised the USA with an historic 90-87 victory in Las Vegas earlier than then sealing, on Monday, a giant 94-71 win over Argentina, the world’s fourth-ranked facet.

The group’s performances have excited followers forward of their 19 July departure for Japan however ‘D’Tigers’ look set to be leaving with out their Olympic kits.

These are at the moment caught with Nigeria’s Customs Companies.

Confronted with 1000’s of {dollars} in customs obligation, the cash-strapped Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) say it’s making use of for a waiver to allow them to choose up the kits donated by their China-based sponsors.

“There was a little bit of delay in documentation to get a waiver as a result of it’s between two ministries,” NBBF vice-president Babatunde Ogunade advised BBC Sport Africa.

“The ministry of sports activities and that of finance are speaking to one another. The ministry of finance has to provide the approval for customs for these kits to be launched.

“It is one thing that ought to have been completed prior to now, however they’re nonetheless on it. It is principally a delay in communication and documentation.”

It’s not the primary time Nigerian Olympians will likely be confronted with package challenges at sport’s largest occasion.

Again in 2016, Nigerian athletes in Rio solely acquired their Olympic kits on day 13 of the Video games – after most of them had completed competing.

However Ogunade is assured that D’Tigers, who’re tenting in the US, will compete within the package on the delayed Olympics.

“The products got here some time in the past. However the group will depart for Tokyo on 19 July,” he added. “I consider they are going to get it earlier than the video games.”

Rise of D’Tigers

Nigeria's basketball players celebrate a score against the USA

With six NBA gamers and former NBA head coach Mike Brown on the helm, Nigeria turned the primary African nation to beat the US, who have been taking part in the primary of 5 tune-up video games earlier than Tokyo.

The US have gained the final three Olympic males’s basketball titles.

“On the finish of the day, it doesn’t suggest a lot within the standings so far as the place we’re making an attempt to get to,” says Nigeria coach Brown.

“Nevertheless it’s a superb win for us. No African group has been in a position to beat USA Basketball in an exhibition recreation or an actual recreation. We’re making an attempt to get somewhat little bit of momentum for Nigeria and for the continent of Africa.”

It’s a exceptional rise for the West African nation, scuffling with a crippled home league following a protracted management disaster.

Simply 9 years in the past on the 2012 London Video games, USA beat Nigeria by 83 factors (156-73). 4 years later, Nigeria misplaced to Crew USA once more in an exhibition, that point by 44 factors.

However the nation has turned to overseas-born gamers and a robust group of diaspora gamers primarily based in the US for each its women and men’s groups.

This has led to continental success (African Basketball Championship) for the male facet in 2015 and to back-to-back triumphs for the ladies’s group in 2017 and 2019.

Nigeria had 12 NBA gamers of their 49-man coaching camp in California and 7 in uniform on Saturday towards a US facet replete with NBA gamers.

One other file

Argentina had crushed Nigeria 93-79 on the London Video games and hammered them 94-66 4 years later in Rio.

However on Monday, D’Tigers gained one other measure of revenge by beating the South People 94-71.

“The truth that we’re taking part in effectively in these video games can raise the spirits of lots of people, not solely in Nigeria, but in addition within the African continent,” Brown added.

“Additionally, there are numerous black folks on this planet, particularly within the diaspora, who determine with the African continent, and so it could assist to uplift, unite and join a complete group.”

Nigeria are in a difficult Group B in Tokyo, the place they are going to face Australia, Germany and Italy of their quest for a quarter-final spot.

No African nation has ever gained an Olympic basketball medal.

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