17 June 2013

NIGERIA : NBBF Targets Rio Olympics Bronze

The journey that started in Venezuela in 2012 that culminated in an unprecedented first ever Olympic Games qualifier in the London 2012 Olympics in England will ultimately end with a bronze medal at the next Olympics in Rio, Brazil should the NBBF get the needed support it has revealed.
President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) Tijjani Umar exclusively told LEADERSHIP WEEKEND SPORTS that away from breaking the jinx of never winning the African Cup of Nations for Men this term in Cote d'Ivoire, by picking the title for the first time in Afrobasket 2013, has an eye for one of the tickets to the world championships and ultimately aiming for a bronze medal at the next Olympics in Brazil.
Last week in a build up to having a strong appearance at the Afrobasket in Abidjan, the federation released a list of 15 players to slug it out for shirts at the Stankovich Cup in China. The team was a mixture of the home based team and the Olympic squad that did Nigeria proud in London coupled with few new stars. The players for the continental tournament are Mike Ohiero, Abubakar Usman, Stanley Gumut, Yahaya Abdul and Nkem Ojougboh from the local league others include Richard Oruche, Deji Egbeyemi, Stan Okoye, Ike Diougu, Solomon Alabi, Olumide Oyedeji, Kingsley Oguchi, Kelechi Anuna, Ehimen Orukpe and Ben Uzoh.
The tournament slated for two Chinese cities of Lanzhou and Guanzhou between June 26 to July 10, the federation says kickstarts the team's international preparations for the Afrobasket men. "We are aiming for the Afrobasket cup in Cote d'Ivoire in August and also one of the slots from Africa to the world championship in Spain. But ultimately also, we want to win the bronze medal in three years' time in the Olympics in Rio, Brazil.
So, our road map is a complete package ranging from the Afrobasket, world championship and Olympics. We are building on the successes recorded at the last Olympics to achieve these and with supports from the government, corporate organizations and Nigerians all these are achievable." Umar revealed. The coach that is saddled with the responsibility, Ayodele Bakare expressed optimism that Nigeria is good enough to win the Afrobasket as well as pick one of the tickets to the world championships. "Nigeria is likely to win the tournament in Abidjan. But there are two objectives going to Abidjan; one is to win one of the three tickets to the world championships at stake from Africa.

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