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Ekworomadu added to Nigeria's final roster for WOQT
ABUJA (2016 FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament) - Nigeria forward Joyce Ekworomadu missed two weeks of training camp but has been added to the final roster for the 2016 FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament (WOQT), the country's basketball federation confirmed on Monday.
As well as Ekworomadu - a member of the Harlem Globetrotters - four newcomers are set to feature for the Western Africans in Nantes, France from 13-19 June, as 12 teams battle for the remaining five berths for the Rio Olympics.
|Nigeria 12-player final roster for 2016 FIBA WOQT|
|Promise Amukamara||Upe Atosu||Joyce Ekworomadu||Adaora Elonu|
|Elem Ibiam||Ezinne Kalu||Ndidi Madu||Sarah Ogoke|
|Helen Ogunjimi||Olayinka Sanni||Chioma Udeaja||Uju Ugoka|
While Nkechi Akashili, the MVP of the Nigeria Zenit Bank League, was left out of the final roster, head coach Scott Nnaji called up Promise Amukamara, Uju Ugoka, Elem Ibiam and Ezinne Kalu to join the core of the team that finished third at last year's AfroBasket Women.
These new players bring more energy at both ends of the court. We watched the film of our games against Turkey and we came to the conclusion that we lacked communication. But we are ready for the WOQT now. - Nnaji
A week ago in Istanbul, Nigeria lost two warm-up games against Turkey. However, Nnaji insists they have regrouped and are ready for the "WOQT challenge" and hopes Ekworomadu to bring her "international experience to the table."
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Ekworomadu, 29, has represented Nigeria on a number of occasions and Nnaji is relying on her leadership.
Talking to FIBA.com from Abuja, the play caller shed light on the team's preparations.
"These new players bring more energy at both ends of the court. We watched the film of our games against Turkey and we came to the conclusion that we lacked communication. But we are ready for the WOQT now," he explained. "Both Amukamara and Kalu have good ball handling and should be key for us. Because of her size [1.94m], I expect Ibiam to help us in the paint."
Nigeria will need to pass their Group C test which includes Korea and Belarus if they are to advance to the Final Phase where they need a Quarter-Finals win or a triumph in the Fifth-Place game to ensure a place in Rio.