17 August 2006

NIGERIA : D'Tigers Arrive in Japan

THE national male basketball squad, D'Tigers have arrived Japan from Dallas USA for the FIBA World Basketball Championship taking place August 19 - September 3.

Led by former NBA star and American, Sam Vincent, the team will battle with 23 other teams for the bragging rights of 'world champions' at the 16-day championship in the Far East.

The D'Tigers, who snatched a world championship ticket by beating hosts Algeria in the third-place game at the African Championships last year, play in group A alongside two-time defending title holders Serbia and Montenegro, Olympic champions Argentina, France, Venezuela and Lebanon.

Some one-and-half weeks ago, Vincent revealed his World Cup team, including long-term skipper Tunji Awojobi, Olumide Oyedeji, Chamberlain Oguchi, Derrick Obasohon, Ebi Ere, Julius Nwosu, Deji Akindele, Josh Akognon, Ime Udoka, Ibrahim Badmus, Gabriel Muoneke and Jeff Varem.However, disagreement between Vincent and former NBA star Oyedeji over the choice of captainship led to Vincent dropping Oyedeji from the squad and calling up Ejike Ugboaja. Oyedeji had protested the naming of Ime Udoka, who is less than a year in the team as captain, when 12-year veteran Tunji Awojobi is included.

D'Tigers are going to their second World Cup, after playing at the 1998 championships in Greece, where they finished 13th - the best result by an African team at the world championships.

Only Julius Nwosu played in the 1998 tournament. That year's team also included Peter Aluma, Oladipo Ayinla, Emmanuel Acha, Dozie Mbonu, Obinna Okezie, Godwin Owinje, Muftau Ibrahim, Dominic Okon, Oluyinka Dare, Kingsley Ogwudire and Hanks Oshonaike.

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