The Musa Kida-led Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) has urged Nigerians to appreciate the senior national basketball players that just bagged silver in the FIBA Afrobasket co-hosted by Senegal and Tunisia as they return on Monday.
The NBBF made the appeal in a message posted on their official website on Sunday.
The contingent to the championship will be led back home by the NBBF President, Kida aboard a Royal Air Maroc flight that will arrive in the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos at about 3.30 a.m.
The D’Tigers lost its bid to defend its Afrobasket title when Tunisia claimed it by beating them 77-65 in Saturday’s final in Tunis.
According to the federation, the fact that D’Tigers was just in camp for about two weeks before their title defence surpassed their pre-tournament expectation by getting to the final.
Nigeria defeated continental powerhouses like Senegal and Cameroon in the quarter-finals and semi-finals encounters before being defeated by co-host, Tunisia.
Also, in spite of their last match loss, D’Tigers and their fans will still have something to cheer about as Nigeria’s captain, Ike Diogu, was awarded the Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) of the tournament.
Diogu, who led by example emerged the tournament’s leading scorer with an average of 22 points per game, was the tournament’s highest scorer with a total of 132 points.
He powered the D’Tigers to the final after emerging as the team’s highest points scorer in four of their six games.
Similarly, Nigerian guard, Ikenna Iroegbu, who made his Afrobasket debut for Nigeria was also named in the tournament’s best five.
The 34-year-old Iroegbu, a power forward, who recorded a tournament-high also, averaged 8.7 rebounds per game at the 16-team FIBA Africa’s most important competition.
Every member of the team except the Captain, Diogu, will be received on Monday.
Diogu will head for the U.S due to family commitments. (NAN)