Diogu, Aminu, Okogie, Jordan in as Nwora releases D’Tigers list
Finally, the list is here. The players expected to champion Africa’s best ever performance at the FIBA Men’s World Cup have been unveiled by D’Tigers head coach, Alex Nwora.
Among the players are some veterans of the national team, including the prominent figures in Nigeria’s victory at the Afrobasket a couple of years ago, as well as some of the best young players in the world’s game.
The players chosen to fight Nigeria’s battles in China are Skipper Ike Diogu, a regular throughout the qualifying series alongside Ike Iroegbu, Benjamin Uzoh, Al Farouk Aminu, Zanna Talib and Stanley Okoye.
After series of impressive performances in the friendlies, Stockton Kings’ Vincent Nnamdi booked a spot in the team alongside new kids on the block, Chimezie Metu, Jordan Nwora and Joshua Okogie.
2016/2017 EuroLeague championship winner and EuroLeague Final Four MVP, Ekpe Udoh will also be in line to make his debut for D’Tigers alongside Michael Eric, whose father Joe Erico was for many years Nigeria’s number one goalkeeper.
It was heartbreak for some of the players that had been with the team right from the qualifiers, and Nwora said the decision to drop Alade Aminu, Ike Nwamu and Deji Akindele was not an easy one.
He explained: “It was very hard pruning the team from 15 to 12 as required by FIBA. If I had my way, we would have registered all the 15 players for the World Cup because all these players have unique qualities that they bring to the team.”
Nwora, who guided Nigeria to become the first country to qualify for the World Cup, said expectations are high for the team to perform, which has continued to motivate the entire team to go a step further.
“These are the best players we have at our disposal right now. We are very aware of expectations back home.
Recently, Nigeria currently ranked 33rd in the world defeated Dominican Republic (18th), Canada (23rd), Poland (25th) and Montenegro (28th) as part of their preparations for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Nigeria grouped alongside Argentina and Korea will start their world cup campaign against Russia on Saturday in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
The final 12 gladiators are Uzoh Benjamin Chukwukelo (CB Caballeros de Culican), Ireogbu Ike (Science City Jena, Germany),
Okogie Joshua Aloiye (Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA), Nwora Jordan Ifeanyi (University of Louisville, USA),,Vincent Nnamdi Gabriel (Stockton Kings, NBA), Aminu Al Farouq (Orlando Magic, NBA), Stanley Okoye (Tecnyconta Zaragoza, Spain), Diogu Ikechukwu Somto (Bayaman Vaqueros, Puerto Rico), Zanna Talib (Montakit Fuenlabrada, Spain), Ekpe Udoh (Utah Jazz, NBA), Chimezie Metu (San Antonio Spurs, NBA) and Michael Eric (Darussafaka, Turkey).