D’Tigress player, Sarah Ogoke is focused on the semi final tie against the hosts of the ongoing 2017 FIBA Women Afrobasket tournament at 7:30pm (Nigerian time)
Speaking after their last training session ahead of the encounter which promises to be explosive, Ogoke who currently plays for RC Celta Vigo, Spain said the team knew that at a point in the competition, they will have to face Mali.
With their gaze already fixed on the trophy before the commencement of the competition, no opposition will be handled with kid’s gloves.
Despite a better head-to head against Nigeria with their last victory recorded in 2013 at the Afrobasket hosted by Mozambique, Ogoke is drawing positives from the team’s unbeaten run so far in the competition after 6 games.
“It’s not easy to play against the home team on their court. I am also looking forward to playing against them because at the end of the day, if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.”
Ogoke revealed that their mission will be completed in Mali when they take home the gold.
“Although, the number one goal is qualifying for the world cup, but by God’s grace, we will do that by taking the gold medal.”
Head coach of the side, Sam Vincent’s driving force ahead of the semi finals is to see Nigeria women’s basketball grow in the world while revealing that the players are motivated to get the gold and bring the cup back to Lagos.
“I don’t think that it’s fair when I look at Senegal at 17th and look at Mali 26th and look at all the teams in-between, I think Nigeria should be higher.”
He urged Nigerians to be proud of the team who have continued to work hard, shown commitment to representing the country and winning the title.
Vincent sees Nigeria as a strong favourite for the title as the team currently possess a fine blend of technically and tactically sound players from the collegiate to the professional level.
With a semi final clash against Mali, he is calling on the Nigerian community in Bamako to emulate their Senegalese and Malian counterparts by coming out in their numbers to cheer the team to victory.
“I have seen pretty big fans for Senegal, they have a large fan base here and I am sure Mali will have a large fan base too so if there is any Nigerian in Mali, hopefully, they will come out and support the team.”
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