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August 2019
12 Ndidi Madu (NGR)
30/07/2019
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Madu returns to #AfroBasketWomen in coaching role

LAGOS (Nigeria) - When Ndidi Madu announced her retirement from international basketball on June 25, 2018 - 89 days to the tip off of the FIBA BWomen's Basketball World Cup 2018 in Spain, the basketball fraternity world over was caught by genuine surprise. 

Who does that? At 29, Madu had a whole future ahead of her playing professional basketball but to her detailed assessment, she admitted that this was the best decision going forward albeit a tough one to take for her teammates and the Nigerian technical bench. 

Fast forward and she is firmly rooted in youth girls basketball development at Valor Collegiate Academy in Nashville, Tennessee in the USA while also running the Team Madu Foundation mentoring the young ones in Nigeria to one day emulate her at club and country levels, to dream big and even better her achievements. 

In a quick turnaround of events, Madu returns to Africa's premier women's basketball event as the assistant coach to Otis Hughley Jr, a role that is expected to strengthen the reigning champions who will be looking to defend their title in enemy territory. 

"I AM VERY EXCITED TO BE IN THIS NEW POSITION ON THE SENIOR NATIONAL WOMEN'S TEAM. AS A FORMER PLAYER, THIS IS TRULY A BLESSING FOR THE NIGERIA BASKETBALL FEDERATION TO GIVE ME AN OPPORTUNITY TO COACH WITH THIS TEAM, WITH COACH OTIS TO LEARN FROM HIM."- Madu

Madu was at the centre of Nigeria's surprise victory over Senegal in the FIBA Women's AfroBasket final two years ago in Bamako, Mali playing solid defence in the paint along with captain Aisha Mohammed. The pair held it down against a side that oozed of experience from the Rio 2016 Olympics . 

It is that team work, determination and hunger for success exhibited by the entire team that many will remember about their journey to victory. And now, Madu wants to relive that to the current squad from a coaching point of view simply because she understands where they are at with the expectations of defending a title.

As the saying goes, it is easy to go to the top but staying there is a lot harder and Madu is aware of this but she is ready for the challenge ahead. 

 

Madu told FIBA.basketball in an exclusive interview that, "I will just share my advice because I have been in this situation these ladies are in at this moment. The most important thing is to make sure I am encouraging these players because I know how tough it is. I know what it is like. I have been in their shoes many times before."

"It is definitely a quick turnaround. Just two years ago in Mali I was on court and played a valuable role on the Nigerian team. The year after that I made a decision to retire from professional basketball and to move forward with coaching and development training."

"I am very excited to be in this new position on the senior national women's team. As a former player, this is truly a blessing to for the Nigeria Basketball Federation to give me an opportunity to coach  with this team with coach Otis to learn a lot from him."

Madu represents a new generation of former players turned coaches and she emphasised that, "I cannot even explain how excited I am to work with such a tremendous coach. I am learning so much from him. Also to be able to coach girls."

"Majority of the team are professional players. It is truly a blessing just to come back and give the knowledge that I have of the game. I know what it is like to play in Africa so I want to give advice and help as much as I can. It is an honour to be going to the FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2019."

For Madu, it is not a one-off but rather a continuous effort built around partnerships with many other people to change the narrative in Africa and give an opportunity to young girls and to have them believe in themselves. 

She mentioned that, "I work on foundations with my team and just to have this opportunity to go back to the FIBA Women's AfroBasket not as a player but as a coach is truly a blessing.  I am truly grateful to God for opening up this opportunity, this door just to come in and learn, share what I have learnt with the team, what I have learnt playing in Africa, what I have learnt being here in Nigeria being on the Nigerian national team, it is truly a blessing." 

 Nigeria was drawn in Group B with neighbours Cameroon and Tunisia for the FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2019 to be played at the newly constructed Dakar Arena from August 10 - 18. 

 D'Tigress as the Nigeria women's senior national team is referred to will be seeking to win their fourth African title but they face a massive challenge from hosts and record 12-time African champions Senegal.  

FIBA