Rio de Janeiro - Although Nigeria have been ousted from the
men’s basketball event of the ongoing Rio Olympic Games, top national players
say the outing will not be the country’s last.
The national men’s senior team, D’Tigers were again beaten
by Brazil, 86-69 in the men's event at Carioca Arena on Monday during their
last Group B match.
The national team had lost to Argentina, Lithuania and beat
Croatia 90-76 before bowing to the fire dunking of the hosts Brazil.
Alade Aminu and Josh Akognon told a post-match conference
that in spite of losing all but one of their matches, the participation would
not be their last to the Olympic Games.
“I don't think this is the last time you'll see us at an
Olympic Games. Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger,’’ said Aminu, a power
“Our performance was in our hands, we had a chance.
Unfortunately it didn't happen.’’
On Nigeria's play, he said: “Honestly, I think we showed a
lot of people that we are a team to be reckoned with.
“I think when teams play us they know they're in for a
fight, we made a name for ourselves even though we didn't have the result that
“If you play Nigeria you know it's going to be a challenge,
it's not going to be just an easy game,’’ Aminu said.
Also read: Nigeria’s D’Tigers crash out of Rio Olympics
He added that though they didn't get the wins they wanted,
he thought they did do a lot of good things.
“I think we definitely are looking forward to making 2020
and be there doing something big for Nigeria in the Olympics.’’
On the country’s performance in Africa, he said that “I
think it has inspired many people.
“In the past, you never heard of Nigerian basketball at the
Olympics and winning gold medal in AfroBasket.
“So, I think it has inspired a lot of people. Nigerians,
especially and the entire continent of Africa; I think we're trail blazers.
“We're making a name for Nigerian basketball and African
basketball in general.
“It's possible to play at the Olympic level and to win and
the next step will be looking forward to winning a medal’’.
On the team’s chemistry, he added that “some of these teams
have been together for 10 to 13 years. We've been together for four years.
“When you have the chemistry of those teams that have been
together for 10 years plus like Spain and Argentina, it really helps in this
kind of situation, to play at the highest level.
“As we continue to stay together, you're going to see a real
good product on the court, moving forward.’’
Akognon, a Point Guard, reacting said: “For the Olympic
experience, I've been away from my wife and children all summer, I love the
experience but I'm ready to go back to them too.
“We felt great to represent our country but at the same time
we feel bad, not being able to get into the medal round and do better.
“Even after the last game (a win over Croatia), I didn't see
what it was to be so happy about when you're 1 and 3, as a competitor, you're not
thinking that 1 and 3 is great.
“For me, the whole experience is up and down. But overall,
with my brothers and teammates and our fans, it's been a great experience,’’ he
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