The Nigerian national male basketball team on Friday defeated the Silverbacks of Uganda 109 to 66 at the ongoing FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers (window 3) holding inside the refurbished Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
Alex Nwora’s wards were in total control throughout the encounter as they are now all but assured of qualifying into the 2nd Round of World Cup Qualifiers in the African section.
Speaking after D’Tigers’ triumph, Coach Alexander Nwora says he is particularly impressed with Benjamin Uzoh and Tosin Idowu, but he suggests overall, the team still have a lot of work to do going into the next phase.
“It’s by design that we won. We do two different stuffs with two different line-ups. Our line-up keep changing. There is no first or second unit. Everybody in that national team can play.
“Basketball is a game of adjustment. They (the Ugandans) did well – in the beginning. We keep making adjustments. Just trying to find the right people they have on the court – from our scouting report. And trying to get people like Ike (Diogu) to exhaust them. Ben Uzoh was awesome today. A couple of the guys stepped up. Tosin (Idowu) played really for us well today.
“But again, we have a lot of work left. I know they (D’Tigers) didn’t play their game today, because of our difference(s). We kind-of throw so many stuffs at them that they are not used to. And it worked for us.”
On the large chunk of the team that is featuring for the first time, Nwora feels the nation is just lucky to have abundant talents.
“Everybody here can play. Like my son (Nwora Jordan) – being here for the first time, he struggled throughout the whole condition. We know what he can do. Coming here, playing physical. He has never played at this type of condition. These guys know his value. And the other team knows that. Him and other guys that are new, I deliberately gave them more minutes just so, they can get more minutes, because we have three games (two more to go). I cannot exhaust these guys. We already won the game halfway into the match. We keep doing what we are doing. We had control over the game. We won the game without the game being over. We respect our opponents, that’s why we played till the last minute.
“Everybody was playing, and that was my concentration, to see everybody benefit from this. We were already winning the game, but I wanted to make sure those guys are ready for the next game. Eight guys haven’t played national team before. We’re lucky that we have the talent to do what we are doing. We’ve been lucky so far.”
On his part, Captain, Ike Diogu, notes that the team will be completely different in September when some of the players return to make a full house.
Meanwhile, coach of Uganda, George Dean Galanopoulos lauded the D’Tigers. He concedes his team lost to the better side.
“Credit to Nigeria. They played very well. They are very well coached.”
“We didn’t lose that game because we played woefully. They were the better team tonight,” the American submits.
This is the first time the national team will be playing its world cup qualifiers at home. They take on Rwanda today (Saturday), before ending with Mali on Sunday.
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