Ekezie calls for reorientation as D’Tigress meet Japan today
• OBN Hoop Summit begins
Nigeria’s chances of making the second round of the women basketball at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be determined by D’Tigress’ performance against Japan today. The team must beat the hosts by a wide margin while hoping that results elsewhere go in their favour.
D’Tigress lost their first game of the campaign to the United States and on Friday surrendered to France to hinge their chances of making the second round on victory over Japan today.
It is still possible, but the team’s performance is far from what pundits predicted for Nigeria pre-tournament. Already their male counterparts, D’Tigers, have exited the competition following three straight defeats by Australia, Germany and Italy.
Stunned by the country’s poor show in Japan, former NBA star, Obinna Ekezie, has called on the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) and other stakeholders to change the narrative by grooming more young talents from the grassroots.
Speaking in Ajah during the opening ceremony of the Organised Basketball Network Academy (OBN) Hoop Summit at the weekend, Ekezie said the Nigerian teams would continue facing challenges if the country failed to find ways of discovering talents, who will then learn from the already established players.
He said inviting stars from different clubs for the games a few months to the Olympics will not help the team to blend and form a formidable squad that can challenge for honours in major competitions.
Ekezie said Nigeria has abundant individual talents in basketball, who need to play series of games to together with world-class opposition before being ready to contest favourably with tough opposition.
He said the inaugural OBN Hoop Summit was organised to create more awareness of grassroots basketball as a tool to enhance they sport’s development in Nigeria.
“The inaugural OBN Summit is the first grassroots basketball development championship in Nigeria.
“Four teams are taking part in the event, including Vedione Voyage, Pressure 55, The Future and the Mariners. We used a model to encourage basketball lovers to sponsor youth development.
“The Hoop Summit began July 31 end will end on August 7,” he said.