By Richard Jideaka, Abuja:
The captain of Nigeria’s national basketball team Olumide Oyedeji is optimistic D’Tigers will cause a stir at the Rio Olympics and break into the medal range.
Oyedeji told Completesportsnigeria.com in Abuja that unlike the London Olympics for which the team went through the strains of qualifying through the play-offs, D’Tigers have qualified directly to the Rio Olympics by virtue of emerging the African champions
“We are going to Rio to fight to make it to the medals range. This time around, we are not going to the Olympics to participate but vie for a medal. We have to show the world that we are Africa’s best and come with something at the end of the games,” the long-servIng member of national team told Completesportsnigeria.com.
He debunked insinuations that their victory at the Africa championship was only made possible by the team’s foreign technical adviser, stressing that it was a collective victory made possible by the coaches, players and the federation
“It was credit to the coaches, federation and the players who did a fantastic job. It is not all about the coach being a foreign coach because in 2012 we were at the London Olympics with a local coach and we played well. It is a team game and you might have a good coach without good players or good players without the best coach or organisation
“It was a team effort because we all came together and said ‘this is what we want to do’ and we did for Nigeria. It was done for the over 150 million Nigerians. No individual can take the credit of that feat,” Oyedeji added.
He stated that he would continue to play the game until his body can no longer carry him, adding that he has been wearing the green and white colour of Nigeria for the past 18 years and if he remains in good health he would continue to play.