18 - 26
September 2021
Otis Hughley Jr. (NGR)
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Hughley, Elonu bank on team spirit as Nigeria begin title defence in Yaounde


YAOUNDE (Cameroon) - Nigeria will open their title defence against Mozambique Saturday in a Group B match up of the 26th FIBA Women's AfroBasket at the Palais Polyvalent des Sports, Yaounde, Cameroon.

And Nigeria team Head Coach Otis Hughley and captain Adaora Elonu say team spirit is their bedrock.

Speaking in separate chat with FIBA.basketball, Hughley says it will be a good thing if they can make it three out of three championship in Yaounde.

Nigeria won a back-to-back Women's AfroBasket title two years ago in Dakar

The Nigerian tactician says D'Tigress, as the Nigerian women national team is known, cannot underrate any team in the Championship because of the growth of women basketball in Africa.

"We are set to start our title defence with one game at a time because it'd be wrong of any country to look down on others especially with what happened during the men's Championship in Kigali, Rwanda," Hughley said.

"On the 60th years anniversary of basketball in Africa, I can't wish the entire continent less, but the very best and hoped that FIBA Africa Region sustain the upward rise of the game."

Asked about the Tokyo 2020 performance of D'Tigress, the soft spoken coach says he is not disappointed with his players as no Africa country is doing enough to raise a team that will compare favourably against the rest of the world.

Nigeria finished 0-3 at Tokyo 2020

"Africa is blessed with raw talents but too much expectations and pressures are put on the team at global championships without same level of investment on preparation like other nations and I make bold to say that if Nigeria, Senegal, Mozambique, Mali, Angola and other African countries can invest half of what nations in Europe, Americas and lately Asian countries invest into basketball development, preparation ahead of major Championships, then the rest of the world will accord Africa, especially Nigeria their respect."

Echoing what coach Hughley said, Nigeria forward Adaora Elonu believed it will amount to disrespect to think Nigeria can just walk into Cameron to be handed the 26th AfroBasket trophy.

Adaora Elonu made her Women's AfroBasket debut in Yaounde in 2015. She won her continental with D'Tigress trophy in 2019

She described Mozambique, one their first opponent, as a tough and a disciplined side.

Elonu says team spirit and staying with the bonding D'Tigress is known for to see them through each game.

She, however thumbs up FIBA Africa Region on their 60th anniversary.