The proprietor of Dodan Warriors basketball club of Lagos Col. Sam Ahmedu (retd) has chosen the exact words of former FIFA vice president, Jack Warner who described Nigeria’s dramatic fix of facilities to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 1999, to describe D’Tigers’ qualification for the 2012 Olympics in men’s basketball.
Nigeria in the early hours of Monday booked a ticket for the Olympic Basketball Tournament for Men concluding the playoffs process. Lithuania, Russia, and Nigeria completed the line-up having secured qualification through the qualifiers, held in Caracas, Venezuela between July1 and 8. He said the team’s qualification can best be described as the seventh wonder of the world. “It is simply a miracle. I call it the seventh wonder of the world because we never gave them a chance”
According to him, credit must be given more to the boys rather than the coaches or officials. “I tell you the truth, the ticket was not won because there was any quality coaching from the bench, it was picked because the players were very determined coupled with their personal efforts to succeed and resolve to prove a point. Those boys exhibited good fighting spirit and it was obvious that they were hungry for success and the ticket that the input from the bench.”
The FIBA Africa marketing committee chieftain also said there is more to do in the team as the Olympics beckons. ”The boys are individually good but they need to be blended as a team. I am happy that they have proven to the world the kind of stuff they are made up of.” He concluded.
After the conclusion of the playoffs, the three qualified teams were drawn into the two groups of six teams, previously determined at the Olympic Basketball Draw in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 30 April. In Group A: Nigeria is paired alongside Lithuania, Tunisia, USA, France, and Argentina. China, Britain, Brazil, Australia, Russia, Spain will slug it out in Group B.