By Babatunde Ogunrinde
Lanre Balogun, Executive Secretary, National Collegiate Sports Foundation, on Thursday expressed confidence in the national U-16 Junior D’Tigers ability to do well at the ongoing FIBA U-16 Africa Championship in Praia, Cape Verde.
Nigeria, who are a step closer to qualifying for the 2020 FIBA U-17 World Cup in Bulgaria, whitewashed top rated Algeria, 75-64 in their last group game played on Wednesday.
D’Tigers had also recorded awesome results beating Cape Verde, 64-39, and Angola, 90-57 but tasted defeat in the hands of Egypt, 77-86.
Now in the quarter-finals, D’Tigers will play Tunisia on Friday for a chance into the semi-finals of the competition which dunked off on July 5 and rounds up on July 14.
Balogun, who accompanied the team to Cape Verde, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the boys are in good spirit and are very confident ahead of the match with Tunisia.
“We are very happy about the players’ performance so far, indeed, they are a bunch of fantastic young players who are doing the nation proud.
“They stood their ground against tough oppositions and are looking good in every other game they have played so far.
“As they play Tunisia in the quarter-finals, we expect a tough game but confident that they will overcome at the end,’’ Balogun said.
NAN reports that Tunisia in their group games lost 57-61 to Mali; lost 57-63 to Guinea beat Cote D’Ivore 59-56 and crushed Rwanda, 88-75 to berth in the quarter-finals against D’Tigers.
NAN reports that the last time Nigeria participated in the FIBA U-16 African Championship was in 2015 where they finished 5th.
The Junior D’Tigers best outing at the competition was a bronze medal finish in 2009. (NAN)