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Nneka Ogwumike, Elizabeth Williams finally out as D’Tigress, D’Tigers announce Tokyo 2020 rosters

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JULY 18: (L-R) Erica Ogwumike #31, Chiney Ogwumike #15 and Nneka Ogwumike #30 of Nigeria look on from the bench during an exhibition game against the United States at Michelob ULTRA Arena ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games on July 18, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The United Stated defeated Nigeria 93-62. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP Ethan Miller / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Team Nigeria’s women basketball squad will campaign for honours at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games without two of the stars expected to light up the side, Nneka Ogwumike and Elizabeth Williams.

The WNBA duo were listed in the provisional team by coach Otis Hughley, but their inclusion was challenged by the United States, which they had earlier represented.

World basketball governing body, FIBA, upheld the United States objection and ruled they were ineligible to play for Nigeria.

The Nigerians took the case to world sports adjudicatory body, Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), which is set to determine the appeal on July 26.

Yesterday, Coach Hughley released the final list of players for the games with the duo conspicuously missing.

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A source at the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) told The Guardian that the coach was forced to omit Ogwumike and Williams because of the uncertainty surrounding their eligibility for the games.

“Nigeria will play its first game on July 27 and including the duo in the list could work against us if their appeal is not upheld by CAS.

“Once the competition starts, no team is allowed to substitute any player on its roster, which could mean that if their disqualification is upheld by CAS, Nigeria would be two players short by the decision.”

The source disclosed that the NBBF would prepare Nneka Ogwumike and Elizabeth Williams for the Afrobasket and World Cup competitions if they were eventually cleared to start playing for Nigeria.

While Nneka is out of the games, her sister, Erica, is in the 12-woman list set to compete in Tokyo. Also in the team are Adaora Elonu, Aisha Balarabe, Elizabeth Balogun, Promise Amukamara, Atonye Nyingifa, Ezinne Kalu, Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpannah and Ify Ibekwe.

Coach Otis Hughley, who led the team to the 2019 Afrobasket win in Senegal, also picked Oderah Chidom, Victoria Macaulay, Erica Ogwumike and Amy Okonkwo to complete the list of D’Tigress team heading to the oriental city of Tokyo.

Chidom, Macauley and Okonkwo are in line to make their competitive debut for Nigeria at the games.

D’Tigress began their Olympics camping in February and played series of tune up games as they are set to face U.S., France and host-Japan. Nigeria’s first game is against U.S. on July 27.

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Also yesterday, the men’s national team coach, Mike Brown announced the players to fight for D’Tigers at the Games.

After about a month camping exercise in Sacramento and Las Vegas, Brown selected Josh Okogie (Minnesota Timberwolves), Miami Heat’s trio of Gabe Vincent, KZ Okpala and Precious Achiuwa, Jahlil Okafor (Detroit Pistons), Miye Oni (Utah Jazz) in his final 12-man roster.

Also in the team are Jordan Nwora (Milwaukee Bucks), Caleb Agada (Hapoel Be’er Sheva), Obi Emegano (Fuenlbrada, Spain), Chimezie Metu (Sacramento Kings) and Ike Nwamu (Samara, Russia).

The team, which recorded two famous wins against U.S. (World number 1) and Argentina (number four) before a loss to Australia in their last tune up game, also includes Ekpe Udoh, who just completed a move to Virtus Bologna in the Italian Serie A.

D’Tigers are grouped against Italy, Australia and Germany.

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