With few hours to their quarter final match against Cote d’Ivoire on Friday at 2pm (3PM Nigerian time), coaches and players are determined to continue their impressive campaign and book a ticket to the semifinals of the Afrobasket competition.
Speaking after their last training earlier today (Friday), Head coach, Sam Vincent said playing against Ivory Coast will not be an easy task since every team in the quarter finals is good enough to win the title.
Vincent who led D’Tigress to the London 2012 Olympics said that, “Every team who will face D’Tigress will be out for the kill. After winning 5 games out of 5, teams are now more aware of the threat posed by Nigeria, so they will want to come all out and achieve an upset.”
The team’s assistant coach, Ahmedu Peter said the technical team has studied and learnt from the mistakes made by the D’Tigress team to the 2015 edition under the tutelage of Scott Nnaji.
Ahmedu described the unexpected semifinal loss to Cameroon as a big lesson.
“It’s a big lesson, and for anyone who says he does not learn from other people’s mistakes, then that means he does not want to move forward. We have seen the past and we have been able to study the past.
He said the present team will try to put its house in order to be able to learn from the past mistakes and get things corrected.
“For every team that qualified for this quarter finals, it’s going to be a different ball game. We have made some adjustments and corrected our mistakes and we are prepared for the semifinals.”
On the possibility of meeting hosts, Mali in the semifinals, the coach said, “I don’t like talking about a particular game that has not come. I always want to take one game at a time and our aim right now is the quarterfinal stage. When we cross that hurdle, then we now begin to think about the next stage.”
“What happened against Senegal was a message sent to us and I am very impressed that in a very uncomfortable atmosphere, they put in their best and came out victorious.”
Upe Atosu who has continued to impress the technical crew said the team is really prepare to face Cote d’Ivoire after weeks of hard works and dedication in training which has helped the team win all their five group games.
The Elephant Girls of Lagos player said, “We are strong mentally, we are prepared for the referees, we are prepared for the fans. We are also strong physically, so we are going all out to ensure a comprehensive win.”
For Udeaja Chioma, “Not being selected against Senegal in our last group game was a decision which the coaches thought was best for the team. Every player wants to play and win, but in a team sports the ultimate goal is to see your team do well whether you play or you did not play.
She is determined to give the Ivorians a tough time if called upon during their quarterfinal game coming up at 3pm (Nigerian time).
“After sitting out against Senegal, I am refreshed and in proper shape to contribute my quota to the team in our quest to progress to the semi finals.”
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