D’Tigers pay homage to Sound Sultan in heavy loss to Australia
…Finance ministry approves waiver for ‘seized’ D’Tigers basketball kits
Nigeria’s men’s basketball team, D’Tigers, paid homage to late Nigerian music icon Sound Sultan prior to Tuesday night’s loss to Australia by filing out in tops emblazoned with an image of the entertainer in their final pre-Olympic Games exhibition game in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The Olympic-bound Nigerians later took a group photo at the end of the game.
Sound Sultan, real name Olanrewaju Fasasi, passed away on July 11 in the United States after a battle with cancer.
A huge basketball enthusiast, he acquired a stake a few years back in the Lagos Islanders, one of Nigeria’s foremost based basketball clubs, and actively worked to promote the sport in the country.
To pay their tribute, D’Tigers’ players, some of whom had personal relationships with the late music icon, filed out for their game against Australia in white shirts with Sound Sultan’s image emblazoned in front. Sound Sultan’s name was also printed at the back of the shirts.
However, D’Tigers were unable to extend their winning run against top-10 opposition to three in a row as they suffered a 39-point blowout at the hands of the Australians, losing 108-69.
D’Tigers were a far cry from the team that had beaten the top-ranked United States and fourth-ranked Argentina in Las Vegas, but there are indications that Mike Brown’s side took their feet off the pedal against the third-ranked Aussies as they would be coming up against them in their opening game of the Tokyo Olympics on August 25 in the Japanese city of Saitama.
Nigeria and Australia are in Group B of the men’s basketball event of the Tokyo Olympics alongside Germany and Italy.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Ministry of Finance has approved the final waiver for the Olympic Games gear meant for D’Tigers, paving the way for their release by the Nigerian Customs Service any time from now.
Sports Ministry sources confirmed to The Guardian that the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, and her counterpart in the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, worked to ensure the documentation needed for the waiver to be secured.
“The Minister of Finance has signed the waiver and what remains is for the customs to release the basketball kits upon presentation of the waiver to the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF) so that our team can enjoy the uniforms donated by Peak,” said the source, referring to the Chinese-based sportswear and footwear makers. “The Sports Ministry has been working on this for weeks and happy that things are moving along now.”
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.