Nigeria’s D’Tigers lost their Afrobasket title, losing to the host country Tunisia in the final played at the Salle Omnisports de Rades Gymnasium on Saturday.
The Nigerian side will rue their missed opportunity to join a select few to win a second straight continental championship, blowing a lead that saw Tunisia clinch victory in 77-65 points.
Having led by as much as 9 points in the second quarter, D’Tigers couldn’t extend it further as they allowed Tunisia close the gap and even went into the break leading them by a point.
D’Tigers could hardly contain Tunisia’s Small Forward Ziyed Chennoufi who led the onslaught for them from the 3rd quarter, having an impressive 7/9 FG, and converting 4 of the 6 attempted 3-point shots. He ended the game with 19 points for Tunisia.
For Nigeria, skipper Ike Diogu hit the double with 20 points and 10 rebounds, with Ikenna Iroegbu contributing 17 points.
This is the second time in six years that Tunisia will be crowned continental champions, and what better way for them to do it than in front of a sellout crowd at the 12,000 capacity
They might not have won, but D’Tigers will hold their heads up knowing that they went with a new crop of players from the team that won two years ago, and have hardly played together yet got to the final.
They ended the tournament as the highest scoring team, playing a side that didn’t lose all through the championship.