D’Tigress are still flying high from their legendary win in Senegal at the FIBA Afrobasket and continue triumphantly on the road to the World Cup as they gear up to face off with some familiar faces to earn their spot.
In Senegal on Sunday, August 19th, in the packed Dakar Arena, we watched our spectacular women’s team take the trophy as they beat their opponents 60-55.
D’Tigress, the champions of Africa, succeeded in defending the title they won two years ago after defeating the same team 65-48 in Bamako, Mali in 2017. Even more impressively, D’Tigress have become the first team to win back-to-back FIBA Women’s AfroBasket titles since Angola followed up their 2011 triumph with another in 2013.
Now, the girls are set to defend themselves once more at the 2019 Olympics pre-qualifiers, which kick off today, in Mozambique who are the official hosts.
The entire team including official AFA Sports ambassador, team captain and MVP Ezinne Kalu have been training relentlessly to bring home the victory.
Speaking live from Maputo, Ezinne confirmed that the girls were in high spirits and excited about their upcoming games. “We understand how much is riding on these next few games and we are confident that we have done enough to sail through the pre-qualifiers and get a step closer to realising our World Cup dreams.”
Six countries - including hosts Mozambique, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), Mali, Nigeria and Senegal - are divided into two groups of three teams each.
They will play a round-robin format in their specific groups with the winner of Group A facing the second team in Group B while the winner of Group B will come up against the second ranked team in Group A in the Semi-Finals.
The two winners of the Maputo-showdown Semi-Finals will not play a Final as they will automatically advance to the 16-nation FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (WOQT) in February next year where the top three teams from each of the three WOQTs will qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
If the girls win this round, they will have to play the qualifiers in February before being eligible to represent Nigeria in Tokyo and potentially take home the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Babatunde Ogunade, Vice President of the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF), said, “We are beyond hopeful about our girls’ chances during these next few crucial games and we are grateful for the support we have had thus far. The girls are fired up, they are ready for their first game and they are highly likely to qualify for the Olympics.”
AFA Sports, the official apparel sponsors have been proud supporters of the women’s team and speaking to Founder, Ugo Udezue, he reiterated that he has every confidence in the girls’ ability to conquer in all their games. He continued, “AFA are a premium sports apparel brand based in Victoria Island and D’Tigress have been instrumental in bringing the AFA vision to life. We are committed to creating premium performance wear that allows athletes to play to the very best of their abilities and I believe that we are on the verge of watching D’Tigress make history once more.”
After taking part in gruelling training sessions, D’Tigress prepare to face off with Democratic Republic of the Congo at 14:30 today in the first of many matches in Mozambique.
We wish them the best of luck!