The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) says the success of the national women basketball team, D’Tigress, at the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket 2017 in Bamako, Mali is an ample evidence of what Nigeria can achieve in the world of sports with adequate planning, proper motivation and good selection of players.
The Association, in a statement on Monday by its Secretary-General, Olawale Alabi, said both the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) should therefore improve upon this to ensure the team replicate the AfroBasket performance at the World Cup in 2018.
D’Tigress had brushed aside all opposition, including subduing Senegal 65-48 in the final match, to win the title for the third time.
This victory means Nigeria will alongside Senegal represent Africa at the world championship in France in 2018.
“SWAN sees the performance of D’Tigress as ample evidence of what Nigeria can achieve in the world of sports with adequate planning, proper motivation and good selection of players.
`With this, D’Tigress have proven once again that they are among the best, and this was only proven because we all did the right things.’’
“However, we call on the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports and the NBBF to ensure their early preparation for the world championship.
“As the watchdog in the sports sector, our appeal is for the ladies to be appreciated for making Nigeria proud, while concerted efforts should be put in place to ensure they lack nothing when they face the rest of the world,’’ the statement said.
SWAN, in the same statement, also congratulated Nigeria’s women volleyball team for qualifying for the Africa Championship scheduled for October at Yaoundé in Cameroon.
The team overcame Ghana and hosts Cote D’Ivoire in a round robin contest in Abidjan.
The Association similarly saluted the efforts of Team Nigeria at the just-concluded 2017 Senior World Wrestling Championships where Odunayo Adekuoroye won an unprecedented silver medal.
SWAN then said the victory of D’Tigress in Mali should serve as motivation for the Super Eagles of Nigeria to go all out and grab the maximum points at stake in the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification matches against Cameroon, beginning with the first leg tie in Uyo this Friday.
“We call on the Sports Ministry, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the technical crew of the Super Eagles, players and fans, as well as sports journalists, to play their respective roles in ensuring total victory against the Indomitable Lions.
“Nigerians expect nothing short of qualification for the World Cup in Russia,’’ the statement said.