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BY: OLATOYE OLAWALE

The only member of D’Tigress team based in Nigeria and the team’s backroom staff will leave Lagos for Belgrade, Serbia on Friday, January 31st as the national camp opens in the European country. They are scheduled to the play the Tokyo Olympics qualifying tournament in that city.

Warriors off guard Murjanatu Musa who is a part of the delegation led by the Vice President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation Babs Ogunade will fly out aboard an Emirates flight as from 6pm.

Ogunade who spoke with our reporter on Thursday confirmed the details of the team’s itinerary for those based in Nigeria, the USA and the rest of Europe.

He said, “We are leaving from Lagos and not Abuja. The player, the medical team, secretary are all on the same flight from Lagos.

“Those in the USA will be arriving in Belgrade with the coach. But as you know, most of them are playing professionally in Europe and so they will simply cross over to Belgrade on the agreed schedule.”

The players and Coach Otis Hughley are billed to arrive in Belgrade February 1st and then move into the FIBA official hotel for the qualifiers from the 5th for the competition beginning February 6th.

This is the last stage for the Nigerian women to go through before picking a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics.

D’Tigress had to win the first stage in Maputo, Mozambique for the African teams for the FIBA Tournament. Mozambique is the other African team in the series.

D’Tigress who are back-to-back African champions having won the African cup in 2017 and successfully defending it in 2019 are in Group A at the Belgrade centre with world Champions USA, hosts Serbia and Mozambique.

Murjanatu who spoke with this reporter on Thursday assured Nigerians she would put her best in the assemblage of stars in Serbia.

“Surely, I am not just going to make up the numbers. It is an open camp and will put my best,” she said.


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The off guard who plays for Air Warriors in the Zenith Bank Women’s League in Nigeria is making her debut with the national team. She was the Most Valuable player of the last league playoffs held in Lagos.

Olympic qualifiers are designed to be financed by the Ministry of Sports in Nigeria with the federations coordinating the programmes.

From the draw made by FIBA on November 27 in Switzerland, a total of 10 teams would join USA (World Champions) and host country Japan from the different centres of the Olympic Qualifiers. The other hosts of the qualifiers are China, France and Belgium.

D’Tigress are fighting their way back to the Olympic Games after making their debut at the Athens 2004 Olympics. They did not qualify for the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games.

D’Tigress Full List:

Ifunanya Ibekwe (Virtus Eirene, Italy)
Promise Amukamara (Charnay Basket Bourgogne SUD, France)
Sarah Imovbioh (Basket Namur Capitale, Belgium)
Elo Edeferioka (CB Vigo Spain)
Sarah Ogoke (USA)
Pallas Kunaiyi Akpannah (Meccanica Nova, Italy)
Ezinne Kalu (Landerneau Bretagne Basket, France)
Evelyn Akhator (Spain)
Aisha Balarabe (Spain)
Adaora Elonu (Uni Girona, Spain)
Elizabeth Balogun (Louisville University, USA)
Musa Murjanatu (Air Warriors, Nigeria)

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