06 August 2006

NIGERIA : In the U18 final

Nigeria under 18 junior national here in Durban, South Africa gave a good account of themselves in the semi finals pairing against Congo to book a final ticket against West Africa neighbour, Mali.

The Nigerian who trailed the Congolese in the first quarter of the encounter (22-21) turned the table against the more physically Congolese side from the second quarter winning 28-18 to send a clear signal to the boys from the Central African country that Canada is not expecting them come 2007 when the world championship would be staged.

The coaches Adeka Dauda and Masai Ujiri tutored side soon turn the heat on their Congolese counterpart in the third quarter by introducing a zonal style of play which caught the Congolese napping ending the quarter 24-09 and carried on to the fourth quarter which also ended with the Congolese scoring a single digit of 14-08 points for a cumulative scores of 87-57 points to set up a grand finale duel against hard fighting Mali who edge out Angola in the first semi final by 68-60 points.

Team captain and starting point guard, Oseer Ikyaator led the team in scoring with 22 points, 3 assist and 2 rebounds, Ibrahim Yusuf added 19 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steal, Abel Baraya had a double-double of 11 points and 18 rebounds and one block while Nosa Omoregie had 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals to rap-up the game for Nigeria.

The Nigerian players have resolved that though the country has qualified for the FIBA World Championship but nothing short of winning the cup would do.

The finals come up at 2.00pm local time Sunday at the sports hall of the Durban University of Technology and will be aired live on Super sports.

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