D’Tigress settle into Bamako, set for trophy chase

Pius Ayinor
Ndidi Madu is quite optimistic that Nigeria is within reach of the African cup as AfroBasket for Women take the tip off in Bamako, Mali. Ndidi, whose Ibo name means patience told Extrasportsnigeria.com before the team boarded the flight to Mali on Wednesday that they had patiently prepared for the ultimate prize after finishing third in their last try two years ago in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
She said, “We didn’t just start this preparation; we started years ago and that was how we got to the level we reached in Cameroon. This time we are reaching for the trophy. That is the ultimate and I guess we have been patient enough for the big one.”
D’Tigress arrived in Bamako on Wednesday for the tournament scheduled to start on Friday when Nigeria will face Mozambique in their opening match at 4pm. The team left Lagos aboard an Air Cote d’Ivoire flight and had a stopover in Abidjan before connecting to the Malian capital. The delegation was led by the Vice President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, Babatunde Ogunade.
Coach Sam Vincent who hopes to lead the team to their third AfroBasket title said the team would have loved to train immediately after their arrival, but due to circumstances beyond their control, the training would have to start on Thursday.
He said, “We wanted to train today, I would have loved to go to the gymnasium to train today, but we don’t have court time available. So, apparently, what they are telling us is that court time will start by 2pm tomorrow. If we can hit the gym today, we will get to work immediately.”
The American however expressed satisfaction with his team and their readiness to take on Mozambique on Friday.
“I like the way the team is working right now; we feel good about the roaster. They are experienced players. We have got post players, shooters and we are solid on defence.”
He is sure that all the team need is to play hard, play smart and work together to have the chance of winning the tournament.