The Nigerian D’Tigers defeated Burkina Faso 87-64 on Monday, March 16 in the first encounter of a two-game match-up.
D’Tigers showed dominance the entire 40 minutes of action, leaving nothing to chance in its bid to secure a berth for the 2015 Afrobasket championships taking place in Tunisia from 19 to 30 August. The two-game match against Burkina Faso is also a means to earning a ticket to the All Africa Games in Brazzaville, Congo from 4 to 19 September.
D’Tigers won three of the four quarters and held the Burkinabes to a dismal nine points in the second quarter. The hosts managed to win the third quarter by a mere four points but couldn’t keep the momentum in the final quarter as the Nigerian team closed out the game with a 23 point margin.
The 2015 Afrobasket will serve as a qualifying event for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Patrick Omorodion, media officer for the Nigerian team, said there’s still more work to be done when the team returns to Nigeria for the second game.
“Yes we won, but the NBBF President Tijani Umar is not too impressed as he expected a wider margin of victory.” He noted that the team did not particularly play good defense despite the wide margin of victory.
D’Tigers are expected back in Nigeria today and will quickly head to Johannesburg for a four-nation invitational tournament that begins on Thursday March 19. The team will return to Nigeria after that to play the second and final match against Burkina Faso at the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos on Wednesday March 25 to clinch the spot for Afrobasket 2015. This is crucial considering that Nigeria needs to be in Turkey in August in order to compete for a ticket to the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.