Connect with us

Sports

D’Tigers In Tokyo Olympics: From Participants To Contenders

Published

on

D’Tigers beat the well respected Team USA 90-87 at the weekend and within hours the Nigerians had their names virtually in every publication across the world. They became an instant hit on Twitter at a time Nigerians were usually asleep and resting for Sunday church service.
It had to be so because no African team had ever beaten the USA or had even ever truly tried to. The mindset was always to try to keep the margin of defeat low. Across the world one can count easily how many teams have ever beaten the men’s or women’s team of the USA. It had to be a big deal then for D’Tigers.
The result of the game between Nigeria and the USA at London 2012 Olympics explains a lot. USA defeated Nigeria 156-73. The change and progress did not come just in 2021; it has been a long dream and serious work to get to this level.
Back in the early 1990s Nigeria mounted a vigorous fight to change the AfroBasket competition schedule from December to the summer period when the high number of Nigerian players could be free from collegiate games and clubs to play for D’Tigers. In December 1995 they managed to assemble a few of the USA-based players and finished at the third position in Algeria.
They fought harder and got the change. When the change came with Senegal ’97, Nigeria assembled quite an impressive line up. The team was celebrated and the Nigerian contingent arrived in Dakar in a chartered Nigeria Airways Boeing 737 flight with a retinue of supporters. Nigeria lost only one game and which was the final match to hosts Senegal.
The Senegalese had been beaten by the Nigerians at the group stage and came into the final with all manner of tricks and physical threats. They had their way but Nigeria as runners up qualified for its first World Cup in Greece.
The preparation to Athens in 1998 was even more elaborate with the team arriving there in a chartered Nigeria Airways DC 10 flight.
 Coach Ayo Bakare had the mandate to get the best of Nigerian players anywhere in the world. He was able to add to the team Yinka Dare (late) a former NBA player with New Jersey Nets and Obinna Ekezie (WakaNow CEO) from Maryland University. Julius Nwosu.
 A former NBA player had featured already in Dakar. Nigeria won only one game in Greece against South Korea but the foundation for what is happening with D’Tigers and D’Tigress had been laid firmly.
The Nigeria Basketball Federation and friends of the team agreed that within a decade the country could enter the top 20 bracket if the NBBF could gather just a quarter of Nigerian stars scattered across the globe. This is how the NBBF got to getting this squad available to the country on the road to the Tokyo Olympics.
D’Tigers squad of 1995-2001 is like what the 1994-1998 squad means in football to Nigeria. The collection of D’Tigers in that period has produced big achievers in the game across the globe today. Masai Ujiri is the President of the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors won their first NBA title under Masai in 2019. He played in Senegal ‘97. Ugo Udezue is the CEO of AFA Sports and his company is the kit partner of the Nigerian contingent to the Tokyo Olympics.
It is the first time an African apparel manufacturer would kit a nation at the Olympics. Ekezie is the chairman of an insurance company in Nigeria, runs the OBN Academy and the founder of Wakanow.com travel agency. Ime Udoka was a former captain of the team and now the coach of Celtics in the NBA.
The current NBBF president Musa Kida was a member of the board at the upsurge period of 1997/98. He has followed the dreams and plans to the letter. What the country needed was good management of the teams to attract the best players especially those who were not born and have not lived here as adults.

Continue Reading

Sports

NNL Confirms Relegation Of 12 Clubs  To NLO

Published

on

Ahead of the 2024/2025 season, the board of the Nigeria National League (NNL) has confirmed the relegation of 12 clubs  across  the four groups that played in last season’s league to the third tier National League One (NLO).
Similarly, the promotion of four clubs from the NNL  to  the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) was also  confirmed.
The  NNL had recently concluded the season with its super eight championship at the Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium in Enugu, where the quartet of  Nasarawa United, El-Kanemi Warriors, Beyond Limits and Ikorodu City FC gained promotion to the elite league.
The NNL in a letter dated July 13, 2024 to the NFF, confirmed the relegation of Stormers FC, Abeokuta, Ekiti United FC of Ado Ekiti and 1472 FC of Lagos from conference A. Also confirmed  were FC One Rocket of Uyo, Giant Brillars FC of Enugu and Trade Safe FC of Lagos from conference B  while NAF FC of Abuja, ABS FC of Ilorin and EFCC FC of Abuja dropped to the NLO from conference C.
Similarly, Mailantarki Care FC of Abuja, Jigawa Golden Stars of Dutse and City FC of Abuja completed the dropped clubs from Conference D.
Confirming the promotion and relegation of the clubs, chairman of the NNL, George Aluo, said the board has formally notified the NFF ,its parent body  about the final outcome of the 2023/2024 season.
The veteran journalist added that the board is currently preparing for its Annual General Meeting (AGM), where it will formally receive all the clubs that would participate in the new season.
“To the glory of God,  the 2023/2024 NNL season ended with giant strides recorded by the board. We have formally notified the NFF of the promotion and relegation of the various clubs that gallantly participated in the league last season,” Aluo said. “Our next program is the Annual General Meeting of the board and clubs, where we will receive the four clubs that dropped from the NPFL and the eight that got promotion from the NLO.”
He added: “We are set and have promised Nigerians that we will improve on our last season’s performance. We have raised the standards at NNL and the new season will no doubt be competitive as our performance has propelled many of the clubs that participated in last season to become giant killers in Nigerian football,” Aluo stated.

Continue Reading

Sports

Super Falcons To Land In Bordeaux

Published

on

2004 quarter-finalists Nigeria were scheduled to arrive in the French city of Bordeaux yesterday night as the countdown begins for their first outing at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in 16 years.
The nine-time African champions, who must negotiate an interesting group that also includes Brazil, Spain and Japan, will depart Spain aboard an Air France flight and arrive in Bordeaux minutes before 11pm.
The delegation of 18 players, four alternate players and officials is scheduled to arrive at the team’s Hotel Mercure abode minutes before midnight.
Quarter-finalists at the Athens 2004 Olympics, the Super Falcons last featured at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in China in 2008, when they lost 0-1 to Korea Democratic People’s Republic, 0-1 to Germany and 1-3 to eventual silver medallists Brazil.
Women’s football began as a demonstration sport at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996. The Super Falcons made their entry in 2000 in Australia, where they lost 1-3 each to China, eventual winners Norway and eventual silver medallists USA.

Continue Reading

Sports

Nwokolo Donates Kits To Lagos Community

Published

on

Nigeria-born boxer, Emeka Nwokolo, has expressed his desire to fight in Nigeria in 2025 while donating boxing kits to young pugilists in Lagos during a press briefing at the Nigeria Boxing Board of Control office in the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos State.
The United States-based fighter, who recently won his fourth and fifth professional titles in June, is on a visit to his homeland where he was born before migrating with his father, legendary boxer Charles Nwokolo.
“I think by next year, by the grace of God, I’ll have a fight coming up in Nigeria. I am going to fight in Lagos or in my hometown, where my dad comes from, in Anambra,” Nwokolo said.
The 31-year-old, who currently holds the WBA North American Boxing Association super welterweight and Universal Boxing Organisation world super welterweight belts, donated gloves and other boxing equipment to aspiring boxers in Lagos.
Secretary General of the NBBofC, Remi Aboderin, praised Nwokolo’s gesture, stating, “This guy is an inspiration to other young ones in Nigeria. More Nigerian boxers are looking up to him to be like him and even maybe want to surpass him.
“He has come in and given back to the society, he came with gloves and other kits and he has shared them among the young ones. On behalf of the NBBofC, we want to thank the Nwokolos for their impact in Nigerian boxing.”

Continue Reading

Trending