Nigeria alleges foul play as D’Tigress beat Cote d’Ivoire to qualify for semifinals
Nigeria braved all odds, including unfair officiating, to beat Cote d’Ivoire in one of the quarterfinal matches of the on-going FIBA Afrobasket for Women in Yaoundé, Cameroun.
Although D’Tigress won the game by 72 points to 52, the Nigerian team were not happy with the behaviour of match officials and they made their feelings known to the organisers.
Speaking on the game, D’Tigress Head Coach, Otis Hughley Jr., said officiating in the ongoing competition has been below par, adding that players, who are used to quality officiating in other leagues across the world, could be discouraged from participating in African competitions.
The coach of the back-to-back African champions, added: “We want to see a foul called out as foul; let’s take politics out of this event. If we keep condoning rough play, then we will chase good players away; players who are used to quality officiating would stay away.
“Bad refereeing will chase people like this (pointing to Ezinne Kalu) away from African events.”
In the match played at the Palais Polyvalert des Sports, D’Tigress proved they are ready to take the African trophy back home with a 14-0 run after the tip off.
Coach Igor Kovasevic of Cote d’Ivoire called a time Out to slow down Nigeria’s rhythm, but it hardly had any effect on what was going on.
The first quarter ended at 24-8. Respite did not come the way of the Ivoirians as the Nigerian ladies expanded the lead to 43-21 at the break. D’Tigress maintained the lead at 59-35.
The Ivoirians had a better fourth quarter, but at that point, the Nigerians were already planning for their next game against Senegal.
“Yes, at that point we had to play softly and take some rest and of course avoid further hard knocks,” Hughley told reporters.
Amy Okonkwo hit 14 points and Ezinne made 17 points, as the Nigerians swept through to await a huge showdown with the Senegalese today.
The Senegalese defeated Mozambique 74 to 46 in the second quarterfinal game of the day. D’Tigers had not known their opponents when Hughley spoke but he said whichever team they eventually face would not matter.
“Senegal or Mozambique and we get set. Even it turns out to be Mozambique it is also going to be tough because they are quite a physical team.”
Nigeria and Senegal will continue from where they stopped in 2019, when D’Tigress defeated the Lionesses in Dakar to win the African Cup in a row in spite of the full house backing of the Senegalese fans that showed up in their thousands to celebrate their team and the sports arena the court just built. This match has been dubbed here the final before the final game.