9 Aisha Mohammed (NGR)
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Two-time Olympian Aisha Mohammed has encouraging words for 2024 Paris Games-bound Nigeria


BUFFALO (USA) – By all standards, the name Aisha Mohammed ranks among the heroines of Nigeria and African women's basketball.

At 18, she made her Olympics debut with Nigeria at the 2004 Athens Games, and 18 years later she made her second Olympics appearance at the 2022 Tokyo Games, which marked her last appearance with Nigeria. 

Aisha Mohamed

Though Nigeria, on both occasions did not make it beyond the Preliminary Round and finished 11th place respectively, Mohammed says that both experiences were beneficial to a large extent as they helped her career a great deal.

The 1,94m (6ft 4in) admits that she will continue to cherish her time with the D'Tigresses. "I enjoyed every bit of it as a professional athlete who played for the Nigeria national team, several clubs and college basketball."

Mohammed says that the feeling was good and that she enjoyed moments of competing in Europe because it was competitive and tough. "It kept me going and I got to learn from the challenges."

Nigeria reached the 2018 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup Quarter-Finals

Speaking on Nigeria's first AfroBasket title (2003) that gave the country its first Olympic Games appearance in which she played a significant role, Mohammed stated that the hunger for victory was what kept them going and they never took their focus away from the trophy.

"We were dying to be part of history ourselves. So, the only thing we wanted was to win. It was a dream come true and I was super excited."

Despite losing the three games in the Group Phase in Athens and Tokyo, she maintains that their inspiration was sheer commitment. "The driving force was our dedication to make our country Nigeria, proud and for me particularly, I felt privileged and honored to represent my nation."

Reflecting on the forthcoming Olympic Games in Paris, Mohammed's message to players making their first appearance at the Paris 2024, Olympics Games, would be that they should go there and make Nigerians proud.

"They should have confidence and be courageous in themselves when they wear that green-white-green jersey to represent Nigeria in the Olympic Games. They should go out there, play their very best and play their hearts out. No matter what the outcome would be, we'll always support and be proud of them. Naija no dey carry last, we are the giant of Africa."

Aisha Mohamed

And for Canada, Australia and France which are paired in Group B with Nigeria, Mohammed cautions that the reigning African champions should not be taken for granted.

"Twice Nigeria has been there and lessons have been learned. I believe the world still remembers our feat back in 2018 at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup where we caused upsets.

"Nigeria can still do the same. With hard work, team spirit and determination, anything is possible. They can go beyond the first group stage just like we did and shocked the world in Spain and made it to the Quarter-Final. I know they will do their best to make Nigeria proud. "

She recalls Nigeria’s biggest challenge at that time, the game against the USA pointing out that Nigeria had a good flow in the first two quarters of the game but got jittery and lost the game.

Speaking on her contribution to the girl child through basketball, Mohammed acknowledges that it's difficult to get many to play the game but that those who show determination and are inspired by her are always encouraged to go for their dreams.

"I do encourage a lot of young girls who want to play the game of basketball. l encourage them to work hard, have self-discipline, self-esteem, determination and confidence in life and never say never l can't do it or give up your dreams.

"Nobody can stop you from reaching your dreams, but yourself. I let them know that nothing come easy in life, if you want it that bad, then you have to go get it by working extra hard to get to your goals. No pain no gain,” Mohamed pointed out.