17 January 2007

NIGERIA : Nigeria releases Algiers 2007 lists

A lot of old hands have been excluded from Nigeria’s provisional lists for July’s All Africa Games holding in the Algerian capital, Algiers.

In all, the Nigeria Basketball Federation called up 22 local players for the male and female categories for the first phase of the exercise, which is starting in two centres on Monday.

The men’s 22-man list sees the inclusion of Adamu Ibrahim, Mbaram Omori, Ayodele Ahmed, Abel Baraya and Orseer Ikyator, who represented the nation at the junior level in South Africa last year.

There are also Stanley Gumut, Charles Okwandu, Mike Ohiero, the Ebun Comets point guard, Ngusha Asortse, Terengwa Gyang and Dennis Ebikoro.

The women’s 22-players list pulls a surprise with the return of shooting guard Taiye Adeniyi. She is joined by Dolphins players like Tinuke Arowosafe, Esther Igben and Juliet Ejogo.

There are also Oluchi Nzekwe, Tamuno Whyte, Theresa Samuel and Olawumi Olayinka.

The men’s camp will hold in Abuja, while the women’s camp is in the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

The first phase of the camp would last for a month, Akinlotan said.

This will be followed by a two-week break and a technical review with the teams likely to undertake a screening tour of the United States, where the Nigerian players based there will join them.

Akinlotan said the second phase of the exercise would then start in Zaria and Abuja. The teams would also head for the U.S. after this phase and return to Nigeria before leaving for Algeria.

The teams will return home after Algiers 2007 before flying directly to Angola and Senegal for their respective Nations Cup tournaments.

Nigeria’s female team is the defending champion of the AAG from Abuja 2003 and also holds the FIBA Africa title after winning back-to-back in 2003 and 2005.

The men’s team is the third best in Africa but faces a tough task in Algiers and Luanda; there is only one guaranteed ticket for the continent from the Nations Cup in August to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

It is the same for the women’s game as there is only one guaranteed spot for Africa to Beijing from Senegal; Nigeria represented Africa in Athens 2004.

By Olusegun Ikuesan

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