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D’Tigers players say Rio Games won’t be Nigeria’s last

16 August 2016, 13:19

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 forward.

“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 we wanted.

“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 said.


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