A jubilant D'Tigress after beating Senegal to win the women's 2017 Afrobasket Championship. Photo Credit: @FIBA

D’Tigress have been grouped alongside Turkey, Argentina and Australia ahead of the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup taking place in Tenerife, Spain.

At a brief ceremony held on Tuesday at the Teatro Leal, San Cristobal de la Laguna in Spain, Nigeria was drawn in Group B for the biggest women basketball tournament coming up between 22nd and 30th of September, 2018.

The team will be hoping to surpass their 2006 outing where they lost all their group games against China, Russia and United States, before suffering another defeat in the classification game against Senegal to finish 16th.

Reacting to the draws, Dallas Wings player and one of the most influential Nigerians in the WNBA, Evelyn Akhator said, “I think it will be a great outing for us being drawn alongside Australia, Turkey and Argentina. I have watched the Turkish national team play and I am confident that we will surmount them. On the other hand, we will give a good fight to Australia and Argentina, with hopes of winning.”

A confident Akhator who powered the D’Tigress to their Afrobasket win in Mali, believes that there is an endless world of possibilities if the team is exposed to good preparation, coupled with the relentless effort and determination of the players as well as the management.

“A build up on our previous success at the Afrobasket would surely bear fruitful result”, Akhator said.

Head Coach of the side Sam Vincent revealed that the draws have officially kick-started their preparation for the World Cup and their goal of securing a medal.

“I am excited and confident about our position in the pool drawing for Spain.  It moves us one step closer to our goal of securing a medal at the 2018 FIBA World Cup”.

The Vice President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, Babs Ogunade expressed optimism about the team’s ability to make it out of the group which he described as ‘interesting.’

“We are sure to make it to the next round, then one game at a time. We are the dark horses here and it is a good place to be so as to spring surprises. We have our hearts and heads in a good place”, he said.

Yemi Olus is a Senior Sports Writer and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games and IAAF World Championships. She has also freelanced for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and currently hosts a weekly Track and Field column in the Vanguard Newspaper.


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