Victorious D’Tigress return as commendation trail African champions
Zenith, Kida laud team
Fresh from their latest victory at the just-concluded FIBA Afrobasket for Women held in Yaounde, Cameroun, Nigeria’s women basketball national team, D’Tigress, returned to the country yesterday to the warm embrace of appreciative compatriots.
However, only three members of the squad were on the Asky flight as the other players were said to have chosen to fly direct to their overseas clubs from Yaounde.
In the party from Yaounde were Musa Murjaratu and Nkem Akaraiwe, as well as one of the team’s assistant coaches, Samson Sotuminu. Sotuminu is the coach of Air Warriors, the current champions of the Zenith Bank Women’s League.
They were led by NBBF Vice President, Babs Ogunade and Col. Sam Ahmedu (rtd) of the NBBF and FIBA Africa.
D’Tigress captain, Adaora Elonu, who explained why the rest of the team couldn’t return to Nigeria, said: “The timing is very challenging; it was not the best time of the season for many of us and that’s why some of our players couldn’t be in camp.
“It is the start of the season for clubs and schools,” she said as she waited for her flight back to Russia.
The Nigeria Basketball Federation is expected to announce a reception programme for the team in conjunction with the sports ministry.
The Nigerian queens defeated Mali 70 to 59 on Sunday night in Yaounde to win the 2021 Afrobasket Women. The feat means they have continued to dominate African basketball, winning the 2017, 2019 and 2021 editions without dropping a game.
Nigeria had previously won the 2003 and 2005 editions in Maputo and Abuja respectively.
MEANWHILE, women basketball league major sponsor, Zenith Bank, has commended D’Tigress for their historic victory in Cameroun, which made them the second country after Senegal to win three consecutive titles.
Speaking on the victory, Group Managing Director/CEO of the bank, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, said: “I am happy they have been able to create another record in the history of basketball on the continent.
“We are happy that our investment in the women league is bringing out good fruits.
“Zenith Bank will continue to invest in sports as we have been doing with the women league in the past 15 years.”
Also speaking on D’Tigress’ feat, Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) President, Musa Kida, heaped praises on Zenith Bank for its investment in the women league, revealing that most of the ladies that made the country proud are products of the Zenith Bank Basketball League.
Kida said: “Most of these players are products of the league.”
“Some of them are currently in diaspora, but they all started from here in Nigeria and went through Zenith Bank Basketball League.
“We are yet to have the league since last year due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, as our ever-reliable sponsor, Zenith Bank, keeps drumming it into our ears that anything we must comply with safety protocols.
“Then we were caught up with the Olympics that was also the carryover from last year, whereby both our men and women participated, and then we have the AfroBasket that just ended, but I have the commitment of Zenith Bank that whenever we are ready, we will hold the women’s league.”