24 August, 2021
05 September
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AfroBasket 2021 - Team profile: Nigeria

ABUJA (Nigeria) - After finishing 0-3 at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Nigeria turn now their focus to this year's FIBA AfroBasket, a competition they have once. 

Following FIBA World Rankings (August 2021), Nigeria remain the No.1 team in Africa.

The winners of the 2015 edition of AfroBasket have enjoyed success due to an increasing amount of talents from Nigeria as well as an orchestrated recruitment in American basketball colleges and professional players of Nigerian descent across the world.

Four years ago, and with only Ike Diogu as the only returning player from the 2015 winning squad, Nigeria came close to retaining the AfroBasket trophy but fell to host Tunisia in an encounter that ended 77-65.

The FIBA AfroBasket 2021 will run from August 24 to September 5 at Kigali Arena in Rwanda.

Key facts about Nigeria:

Team: Nigeria.
FIBA Ranking Men: 22 (World); 1st (Africa).
Last participation in the AfroBasket: 2017: (4 win, 2 defeats; 2nd place).
Best result at AfroBasket: African champions in 2015.
How they qualified for the AfroBasket 2021: Nigeria qualified with a 6-0 record in Group D ahead of South-Sudan, Mali and Rwanda at the qualification series played in Kigali (November 2020) and Monastir (February 2021).

World: Nigeria debuted in the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 1998 before qualifying for the tournament in 2006 and 2019.

Nigeria became the first African the team to qualify to the Olympic Games via FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).

Back in 2012, Nigeria took Venezuela by a storm after beating Lithuania, Greece and Dominican Republic to make their Olympic debut at the London Games 2012.

Since then, Nigeria featured at Rio de Olympics 2016 and Tokyo 2020.

History/Qualification: D'Tigers, as the team is commonly known, went for their first AfroBasket tournament in 1972 where they placed 12th.

The climb for Nigeria, however, started in 1995 and the country has not looked back.

Key Players: Ike Diogu, Obi Emegano and Ike Iroegbu played a huge role throughout the Qualifiers, helping their country finish 6-0 in Group D, which included Rwanda, South Sudan and Mali. 

Ike Iroegbu

Nigeria outscored their Group D opponents by an average of 17 points per game.

Rising Star: Newly crowned NBA champion with the Milwaukee Bucks, Jordan Nwora is on a steady climb up the ladder.

He debuted with the D'Tigers during the FIBA Basketball World Cup African Qualifiers 2019 and remains an impactful member of the team.

Jordan Nwora

Nwora averaged a team-high 21 points and contributed 4.7 rebounds at Tokyo 2020.

Head coach: Michael Brown joined made his D'Tigers debut in the first window of the AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers in November 2020 although - due to his NBA commitments - he was temporarily replaced by Mfon Udofia for the second window of the Qualifiers in February 2021.

Brown the associate head coach for the Golden State Warriors of the NBA. He has previously coached NBA teams Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Outlook: Nigeria will seek to remain among the top nations on the continent.

Having gone into the Olympic Games with great hopes for Africa and not meeting their expectations of going beyond the Group Phase, the Nigerian side will redirect their efforts and attention at the AfroBasket 2021 to regain confidence.

With over 66 players featured from 2017 to date, finding the right mix for the AfroBasket may be a little shaky.

However, if they can shake off the disappointment of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, they can still come out as one of the sides to reckon with in Kigali.