Rio: Bakare Upbeat On D’Tigers | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Rio: Bakare Upbeat On D’Tigers

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Posted: Aug 3, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Chibuike Chukwu

LAGOS – Ayodele Bakare, former D’Tigers coach, has expressed his optimism on the chances of the team at the Rio Games despite the absence of Portland Trail Blazers’ Al-Farouq Aminu and Festus Ezeli.

Aminu withdrew from the team due to insurance issues.

Bakare, on Tuesday, urged Nigerians not to lose faith in the team despite the absence of the two players, saying that the team had previously performed when nobody gave them any chance.

“Yes, Ezeli and Aminu are out. But please don’t give up just yet on D’Tigers for the following reasons:

“Over and over again, this team has historically showed resilience when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. Remember the 2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Venezuela.

“Unexpected wins against Lithuania, Greece and Dominican Republic gave Nigeria’s D’Tigers its first Olympic spot, the first African qualification to Olympics through OQT, and only the 3rd non-European OQT qualification in history. Nobody in the whole world gave D’Tigers any chance whatsoever going into that tournament.

“Remember the 2015 Afrobasket Tournament? A Diogu-less Tigers subdued the rest of Africa in grand fashion to win its first Afrobasket title and its second Olympic qualification.

“Even the most rabid of supporters shuddered at the prospect of a Tigers team without Diogu, taking on the best teams in Africa,” Bakare said.

D’Tigers are pooled in Group B alongside host, Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Croatia and Lithuania, with the Nigerians opening their account on Thursday against Argentina

Nine of the 12 players that won the AfroBasket 2015 made the Olympics cut. The three players that did not feature last year but are now on the roster are Josh Akognon, Ebi Ere and Ekene Ibekwe.

Nigeria’s 12-player roster for Rio 2016 Olympic Games are Josh Akognon, Alade Aminu, Ike Diogu, Ebi Ere, Michael Gbinije, Ekene Ibekwe, Shane Lawal, Andy Ogide, Chamberlain Oguchi, Stan Okoye, Ben Uzoh and Michael Umeh.

D’Tigers lost  66-110 to USA in their last test game before the Olympics.

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