Basketball buffs on Tuesday urged the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) to declare a national camp for the senior men’s team, D’Tigers preparation toward the 2017 FIBA Africa Nations Cup.
The competition is expected to hold in Brazzaville, Congo at a yet-to-be determined date.
D’Tigers emerged the champions of the 2015 edition which held in Tunisia, thumping 11 times champions, Angola 74-65 to clinch their first ever African trophy.
The feat qualified the team to the last Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where they came 11th wining one game out of the five the team played.
The fans told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that preparations ought to begin for the team to successfully defend their title.
A former coach of Lagos Islanders, Lateef Erinfolami, told NAN that preparation should start now for the players to assemble and train ahead of the competition.
He said the idea of not making adequate preparation cost the nation a poor outing at the just-concluded basketball event at the Rio Olympics.
“We have said it time after time that early preparation will give us a better chance of doing well at any tournament.
“We have quality players in Europe and in the U.S. and they are individuals who are determined to fly the national flag, so, why not call an early camp for the team.
“The opportunity of the time we have before the competition will help the team to gel properly and fashion out strategies to defend their title.
“The federation should understand that Nigeria is now a team every nation wants to beat, so, this is where we have to prove that the victory in 2015 was not a fluke,’’ Erinfolami said.
First Bank Basketball Club of Lagos handler, Peter Ahmedu, said that the team should be engaged in series of friendly matches to test their capabilities and sharpen their skills.
“The team needs to begin preparation ahead of the championship; the federation can call a camp so that the selected players can understand each other’s rhythm.
“Nigeria is now well known to present a quality team and nobody will underrate us like before going by the array of stars we can parade.
“The federation should also ensure payment of the necessary insurance fee that hindered the best players we have from representing us at the Olympics in Brazil.
“I also look forward to seeing some home-based players in the DStv/Basketball League included in the scheme of things of the D’Tigers,’’ Ahmedu said.
Chris Nomigo, the Head coach of Lagos Warriors, told NAN that the federation should look out for quality players to fight for a place in the national team.
“I noticed some of our players at the Summer Games did not have any club that they represent; obviously, they did not have the necessary game time needed to be fit.
“We cannot continue to select players without clubs for major championships, the federation must be very watchful of this and do what is right for our basketball,’’ Nomigo said.
Nigeria’s D’Tigers are ranked number one in Africa following their exploits in the Olympics and being the winner of the 2015 Africa championship title.