Head coach of Nigeria’s male senior national team Ayo Bakare is confident that Nigeria will survive the Olympic Qualification Tournament slated for July 2-8 in Caracas, Venezuela.
Speaking at the close of the 3-Day first phase camping at the national stadium, surulere, Lagos at the weekend, Coach Bakare’s optimism stems from how the 14 home-based players called to the 3-Day camping exercise responded to training with a positive mind-set.
The coach who qualified Nigeria for her maiden FIBA World Championship outing in 1998 is on the threshold of making another history as Nigeria chases her first outing in the male basketball event of the Olympic Games.
Coach Bakare took over the reign of the national team with few days left to the 26th Afrobasket in 2011 in Madagascar and earned an Olympic qualification slot with a third place finish at the Africa basketball show-piece after two dismal outings in 2007 (Angola) and 2009 (Libya).
The Nigeria national team tactician applauded the coming of DStv (SuperSport) into the Nigeria league, saying that the partnership has yielded positive result.
“If funds permit us to run our programme at full cause I have no doubt that Nigeria will be among the 12 finalists at the Basketball Event of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“I must praise the home-based players for responding to training positively and the full cooperation of the coaching crew, which is made of: me (Bakare) Sani Ahmed and Ayinla Johnson.
“I can beat my chest and say confidently that Nigeria will rule the Africa scene from the next Afrobasket whether I’m in charge, I say this because of the goals laid down which will make iteasy for any coach to follow and improve on.
“The coming of DStv/SuperSport (MultiChoice) into the Nigeria basketball scene has really changed the face of Nigerian basketball and I can confidently say that home-based players can form the bulk of our national team with proper planning and exposure which must include foreign training tours.
“With what we the coaches have seen in the last three days of practice I can say between eight and six of the home-based players will make the final preparation for the Olympic Qualification Tournament with at least four of them making it to Venezuela.’’