Peter Ahmedu: Picking final D’Tigress World Cup squad will be difficult
With stiff competition among the 22 players to represent Nigeria for the coming FIBA Women World Cup in Tenerife, Spain, Assistant Coach, Peter Ahmedu, said that picking the 12 players to represent Nigeria on the team would be difficult.
Ahmedu said the 22 players slugging for a shirt in the Nigeria’s women’s team, D’Tigress currently camping in Atlanta, US are the best players he has ever worked with.
He said: “It has been a difficult one for us here because of the level of competition between the new and the old fighting players trying to pick shirts to the world championship in Spain.
“The players are competing hard in order to pick a shirt and make it to the second phase of the screening which will eventually be in Lagos from the Aug. 19.’’
Ahmedu said the recall of 10 players out of the 12 that won the 2017 Afrobasket Championship in Mali has impacted greatly on the continued development of the team.
He said that he was impressed at the level of match fitness and alertness compared to what the technical crew saw in 2017.
He said: “When we played in 2017, not all the players were in good shape as well as playing for good teams.
“From what we have on ground, the experience playing regular and competitive basketball has given the team an edge.”
He confirmed that the duo of Nkechi Akashili and Nkem Akaraiwe who could not secure visa, will join the team when the second phase of training starts in Lagos.
Ahmedu expressed disappointment over the refusal of the US embassy to issue visas to the two players, but said he was optimistic that as core professionals, the players will not be deterred by the setback.
He said: “We hope by the time we get back to Nigeria, we are going to have the inclusion of Akashili and Akaraiwe to see what they can bring into the team.”
Ahmedu who is the Head coach of First Bank Basketball Club of Lagos assured that the Technical Crew led by Sam Vincent is working hard to produce the best 12 players.
Paired in Group B alongside Argentina and Turkey, the current African champions will start their world cup campaign against Australia on Saturday September 22