The Nigeria women national basketball team, D’Tigress, on Sunday, defeated hosts Senegal in the final of the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket to win their fourth continental title.
Victory for D’Tigress meant that they also successfully defend the title they won two years ago after defeating Senegal 65-48 in Bamako in 2017.
In a keenly-contested final match played on Sunday at the magnificent Dakar Arena which had as much as 15, 000 fans watching, the Nigeria women beat host Senegal 60-55 to win back-to-back continental titles.
As in previous Senegal games over the past few days, there was a deafening atmosphere at Dakar Arena but D’Tigress held their own.
With Sunday’s feat, D’Tigress became the first team to win back-to-back FIBA Women’s AfroBasket titles since Angola followed up their 2011 triumph with another in 2013.
To make it to the final, Nigeria eased past Mali, 79-58, in Friday’s first semifinal.
Hosts Senegal needed to work extra hard to overcome a fearless and determined Mozambique team, 60-57, to return to the championship title game for the third time in a row.
Both Nigeria and Senegal have emerged as the best teams from the 12-team tournament and it came as no surprise that each reached the final after four wins in as many games.
After losing to Nigeria two years ago – not once but twice in Bamako – 12-time African champions Senegal were hoping to become the first team to win the tournament at home since the D’Tigress claimed the 2005 continental in Abuja.
With D’Tigress successfully completing their mission, attention will now shift to the male team, D’Tigers who are expected to compete at the FIBA World Cup in China later this month.
The FIBA World is scheduled to hold from August 31 to September 15.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated D’Tigress for a highly impressive outing.
Buhari, in a statement by his spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja late Sunday night, congratulated the team for the remarkably synergised play.
The president observed that this had enabled them to outpace and outplay all the teams at the tournament to retain the title they won in 2017, further consolidating their position as African champions with four titles.
He commended the team for ”discipline, maturity and focus all through the tournament, and deliberateness in promoting the Nigerian flag and accompanying virtues of resilience, persistence and dogged pursuit until victory was achieved.”
Buhari expressed appreciation to all the officials and technical hands that guided the team to win the African title, urging them to remain focused in deploying such energy and talent in subsequent global tournaments.