By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos
The assistant coach of D’Tigress, Peter Ahmedu, has declared that picking the final 12 players from the 22 presently in camp in United States, preparing for 2018 FIBA Women World Cup in Spain will be a very difficult task.
Speaking from their Atlanta, USA camp as preparation hots up, he said the mood has been at an all-time high with players on the same page with the Technical crew.
“It has been a difficult one for us here because of the level of competition among the players.
They are competing hard in order to pick a shirt and make it to the second phase of the screening which will eventually take place in Lagos from the 19th of August.
Ahmedu said the recall of 10 players out of the 12 that won the 2017 Afrobasket Championship in Mali has impacted greatly on the continued development of the team.
He marveled at the level of match fitness and alertness compared to what the technical crew saw in 2017.
“When we played in 2017, not all the players were in good shape as well as playing for good teams. From what we have on ground, the experience of playing regular and competitive basketball has given the team an edge.
He confirmed that the duo of Nkechi Akashili and Nkem Akaraiwe who could not get United States visa will join the team when the second phase of training starts in Lagos.
Ahmedu lamented the refusal of the US Embassy to issue visas to the two players, but was optimistic that as core professionals, the players will not be deterred by this setback.
“We hope by the time we get back to Nigeria, we are going to have the inclusion of Akashili and Akaraiwe to see what they can bring into the team before we depart for the final phase of preparation which hopefully will be in Turkey.”
The current Head coach of First Bank Basketball Club of Lagos revealed that the Technical Crew led by Sam Vincent is working round the clock to produce the best 12 players that Nigeria will be proud of at the World Cup.
Paired in Group B alongside Argentina and Turkey, the current African champions will start its World Cup campaign against Australia on September 22 in Tenerife.