President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) Engr. Musa Kida says he’s proud of the D’Tigers’ 2020 Olympics qualification feat bagged at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, Completesports.com reports.
Kida spoke moments after D’Tigers humbled the host nation China 86–73 in front of a sellout crowd inside the Guaznghou Gymnasium to qualify for the basketball event of the 2020 Olympics billed for Tokyo, Japan.
“Mind you, they [D’Tigers won in front of the home team, China. So, again, it’s not an easy feat. You can see the Nigerian spirit in them. I’m so proud of these boys,” Kida said.
He says the team’s performance was a reflection of the basketball revolution in Nigeria.
“Well, basketball in Nigeria has come to stay. Like I always told you, we are out to shock the world,” an obviously elated Kida said, adding that he’s not surprised over the D’Tigers’ achievement.
“So, I’m not surprised that our boys have gone out with the Nigerian spirit, like I always say, fought very hard, played very hard, defended very well and won”.
Nigeria’s newly appointed Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, called the team and congratulated them immediately after the victory over China.
And Kida reasons it is now a new beginning for basketball and sports in general in Nigeria.
“The (sports) minister we have right now actually called in before the game to give a message (of encouragement) to the team,” he revealed.
“And of course, he did say ‘look guys, I believe in you guys, 200 million Nigerians are rooting for you to win’.
“We know it is going to be a tough match. The team eventually delivered. And he called back again right after the match and thanked them on behalf of the 200 million Nigerians and on behalf of the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari.
“So, again, it just shows a new turn of things for the game and sports. The ministry has a good care for sports performance now,” Kida explained.
Asked about the fate of the women team, in the face of their male counterparts’ qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Kida remains upbeat that the D’Tigress will also pick the ticket for the Olympics.
“The girls, [D’Tigress] are going for their Olympic Games qualifiers in November.
“We will be there [at the Olympics]. We may be the first female team to qualify for the Olympics.
“Certainly, we will be there [at the 2020 Olympics],” the NBBF boss assured.
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