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Ike Diogu leads Nigeria’s 12-man Commonwealth Games roster


Ike Diogu

Captain Ike Diogu, home-based quartet of Azuoma Dike, Abdul Yahaya, Dung Eli Abraham and Musa Usman are among the players chosen by Coach Alex Nwora to defend Nigeria’s honour at the forthcoming Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. The team is peopled by six foreign and six home-based players.

Most of the players were in the team that won the silver medal at last year’s African Nations Championship (Afrobasket 2017) in Tunisia, but some of the home-based players are having their first outing with the team under Coach Nwora.

According to the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) Secretary, Chimezie Asiegbu, the team was compiled by the coaches after months of camping in Lagos.Diogu, who plays in the Chinese League for Henan, was influential in the team’s run of three straight wins in the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers with an average of 17.7 points made per game.

Azuoma Dike, Abdul Yahaya and Dung Eli Abraham are from Kano Pillars, while Musa Usman plays for Mark Mentors.Musa, who is one of the best ball rebounders in the Nigerian Premier League, missed the World Cup qualifiers in Mali. The other home-based players are Abdulwahab Yakubu and Istifanus Sylvanus. They played major roles in Gombe Bulls’ first ever qualification for the FIBA Africa club championship in 2017.

After a sterling performance for Stony Brooks in the 2016-2017 NCAA season, Uchenna Ireogbu will be making his national team debut for Nigeria in Australia. Orizu Prince Ifeanyi plying his trade with the Far Eastern University, Philippines also made the Commonwealth Games team.

The trio of Olantunji Olalekan Graham, Ofoegbu Uchechi Chima and Achiuwa Godsgift Onyekachi will also be joining the team in Australia from their base in the US.With pre-games camping expected to end on March 22, the team will depart for Brisbane on March 23, 2018 ahead of their first game against New Zealand on April 6.

Nigeria is in Group B alongside host- Australia, New Zealand and Canada.Coach Nwora will be assisted by Aderemi Adewunmi and Mohammed Abdulrahman.Meanwhile, NBBF President, Musa Kida has congratulated Nwora, who is the head coach of Erie Community College, Buffalo, for his recent award as the coach of the year at the end of the National Junior College Athletic Association Region III Tournament.Kida in a congratulatory message to Nwora described the award as well deserved for the seasoned coach who has continued to display a high level of professionalism.

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Ike Diogu
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