28 Jul
    11 Aug 2024

    Qualified Team Focus - Nigeria: Proudly flying the flag for African basketball

    5 min to read
    Preview

    Africa's sole representatives at Paris 2024 are looking to cause an upset

    MIES (Switzerland) - The Women's Olympic Basketball Tournament Paris 2024 lineup is now known and with the game schedule also confirmed, we're checking out the 12 nations bidding for glory at Paris 2024.

    It's now the penultimate nation to be featured in Africa's representative Nigeria who are 12th in the FIBA World Ranking Women, presented by Nike.

    How they qualified

    Facing what looked to be a daunting task against USA and hosts Belgium at the FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2024 in Antwerp, it was always destined to be about whether Nigeria could topple African rivals Senegal.

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    And, they managed exactly that, overcoming some early struggles to dig out a precious 72-65 triumph.

    Record at the Olympics

    Appearances: 3 - 2004 (11th), 2020 (11th); 2024 Medals: 0

    Last appearance

    They may have been able to field almost all of their headline stars at Tokyo 2020 but Nigeria were not able to pull out a victory. That was largely in part due to finding themselves placed in a Group with all three teams that eventually stood on the podium. To their credit, they gave champions USA a big test, only losing by single digits.

    The Group phase

    It doesn't get much easier at this edition for Nigeria, who after that rough draw in Tokyo, again face teams tipped to potentially make a push for the podium. They will once again face France who will of course be gunning for consecutive medals, while Australia and Canada were top four at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022.

    Nigeria Group Phase games

    vs Australia (July 28) vs France (August 1) vs Canada (August 4)

    Players to watch

    Amy Okonkwo is Nigeria's tour de force, She showed why she was FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2023 MVP with another All-Star Five worthy show in Antwerp back in February.

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    She is the go-to baller, the scoring inspiration and uses her physicality to set the tone for the team defensively too.

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    Okonkwo named TISSOT MVP after helping Nigeria to the 2023 Women's AfroBasket title

    Head coach Rene Wakama employs a sizeable rotation of players who all play hard and give their all as 'warriors' on the court and it is the team concept that will matter if Nigeria don't go back to some of those who played at Tokyo 2020. Watch out for the likes of Promise Amukamara, Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah, Elizabeth Balogun and Sarah Ogoke.

    Qualified Team Focus series

    During coming weeks and months, we will continue to check out all teams ready to step out at Paris 2024 as part of our Qualified Team Focus series. You can already take a look at USA, China, Australia, Spain, Canada, Belgium, France Japan, Serbia and Puerto Rico.

    FIBA

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