After Friday’s opening day win over DR Congo, the Nigeria national women’s basketball team, D’Tigress, are set for action today (Sunday) at the 2023 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket tournament ongoing in Kigali, Rwanda.
D’Tigress will be up against North African powerhouse Egypt in what many predict will be a tougher contest compared to the tie against the Congolese.
Even though some feel D’Tigress did not play well enough in Friday’s outing, the Rena Wakama-tutored side still breezed to a huge 69-35 victory over their opponents from central Africa.
Egypt like Nigeria also defeated DR Congo on Saturday but it was a closer contest in which the North Africans eventually prevailed 89-78.
With this scenario, the winner of Sunday’s tie between Nigeria and Egypt is guaranteed an early berth in the quarter-final.
As explained by FIBA, the teams that finish in the first positions in Groups A, B, C and D, qualify directly for the quarter-finals.
The teams that finish in second and third places of each group will have a second chance to remain in the competition by playing in the Qualification Round to the quarter-finals, where the losing teams will be eliminated.
Though largely made up of new players now, D’Tigress have a good record in previous meetings against Egypt.
Reigning champions Nigeria outclassed Egypt 106-72 in Bamako in 2017.
One player that was part of the 2017 class and still very much around for D’Tigress in Kigali is Sarah Ogoke
A three-time champion with Nigeria, Ogoke has displayed her talent in six previous editions of the tournament.
Since making her debut in 2011, Ogoke has gone on to feature in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021.
The 33-year-old, who is D’Tigress captain in Kigali, was among the top performers in Friday’s game.
Ogoke’s experience should come in handy as Coach Wakama, the only female head coach at the 2023 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket, seeks to get past Egypt into the quarter-finals.
Ogoke after the victory against DR Congo assured that D’Tigress will keep improving in Kigali.
She said: “It’s our first win with this young team. We’ll continue to improve throughout the tournament.
“We have to give credit to DR Congo. They are a good team and they played a very physical game. They played well but we were able to take in the pressure.
“Now, we’re going to focus on our next game, against Egypt. We’re going to rest, have a good training session and look forward to having a great game on Sunday.”
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