Zenith, Kida praise the team
Fresh out of their last victory at the FIBA Afrobasket for Women which just ended in Yaoundé, Cameroon, Nigeria’s national women’s basketball team, D’Tigress, returned to the country yesterday under the warm embrace of his grateful compatriots.
However, only three team members were on the Asky flight as the other players reportedly chose to fly directly to their foreign clubs from Yaoundé.
In the Yaoundé squad were Musa Murjaratu and Nkem Akaraiwe, as well as one of the team’s assistant coaches, Samson Sotuminu. Sotuminu is the coach of the Air Warriors, the current Women’s League champions from Zenith Bank.
They were led by NBBF Vice President Babs Ogunade and Colonel Sam Ahmedu (rtd) of NBBF and FIBA Africa.
D’Tigress captain Adaora Elonu, who explained why the rest of the squad couldn’t return to Nigeria, said: “The timing is very difficult; it wasn’t the best time of the season for a lot of us and that’s why some of our players weren’t able to make it to camp.
“It’s the start of the season for clubs and schools,” she said while waiting for her flight back to Russia.
The Nigerian Basketball Federation is expected to announce a hosting program for the team in collaboration with the Ministry of Sports.
The Nigerian queens beat Mali 70-59 on Sunday night in Yaoundé to win the 2021 Women’s Afrobasket. The feat means they continued to dominate African basketball, winning the 2017, 2019 and 2021 editions without losing a match.
Nigeria had previously won the 2003 and 2005 editions in Maputo and Abuja respectively.
Meanwhile, Zenith Bank, main sponsor of the women’s basketball league, congratulated D’Tigress on their historic victory in Cameroon, making them the second country after Senegal to win three consecutive titles.
Speaking on the victory, Group Managing Director / Bank CEO Ebenezer Onyeagwu said: “I am happy that they were able to set another record in the history of basketball on the continent.
“We are happy that our investment in the women’s league is paying off.
“Zenith Bank will continue to invest in the sport as we have done with the women’s league over the past 15 years.”
Also speaking on D’Tigress’ achievement, Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) President Musa Kida praised Zenith Bank for its investment in the women’s league, revealing that most of the women who have made the country proud are products of the Zenith Bank Basketball League.
Kida said: “Most of these players are league products.”
“Some of them are in the diaspora right now, but they all started here in Nigeria and went through the Zenith Bank Basketball League.
“We haven’t yet had the league since last year due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, as our ever-reliable sponsor, Zenith Bank, continues to remind us that all we have to do is adhere to security protocols .
“Then we were caught up by the Olympics which were also the postponement of last year, in which our men and women participated, then we have the AfroBasket which has just ended, but I have the commitment from Zenith Bank that whenever we are ready we will organize the women’s league.