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FIBA Ranks D’Tigress 19th After Fine World Cup Outing


Following their record-breaking performance at the just-concluded 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, Nigeria’s women’s national basketball team, D’Tigress, have emerged as the highest climbers in the new rankings released by world basketball-governing body FIBA on Friday.

According to the rankings released by FIBA, Nigeria are the highest climbers in the table after they moved up 15 places from 34th before the World Cup to 19th.

D’Tigress have 76.6 points to become the second best team in Africa, replacing Angola.

D’Tigress finished eighth at the competition after becoming the first African team to win three matches at the World Cup and also the first African team to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament.

The coach Otis Hughley led team recorded three wins in a row over higher ranked sides Turkey, Argentina and Greece before losing to world number one USA in the quarter-final.

Senegal retained their spot as Africa’s number one team and 17th in the world – the position they were before the tournament – with 102 points. They finished 12th at the World Cup after losing their quarter-final play-off to Spain. Angola are third in Africa after dropping two spots to 20th.

Kano Pillars coach Sani Ahmed believes the team should have been ranked higher than that.

“The performance of D’Tigress at the World Cup was worthy of a higher ranking but their movement by 15 places showed that the team can go on to be ranked in the top 15 if the current performance is sustained. African basketball has come of age and this shows that there is no limit to what we can do if we work hard and set our minds on it,” he said.

“They made history and it will take a while for another African team to match that. Senegal couldn’t build on their first win – and they eventually fell by the wayside. D’Tigress’ current team should be strengthened and from there they can do much more on the world stage.”

President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation Musa Ahmadu-Kida in a statement on Friday was elated that the team’s hard work was recognized through the latest FIBA ranking.

He said, “What a way to start October for us as a team, federation and lovers of basketball. It was just a matter of time before this happened because the consistency of this team has been amazing.

“Now, we have to double our efforts because it will no longer be business as usual. More recognition brings stiffer opposition because we are gradually becoming a team to beat. Before now, the team was an unknown quantity, but with what they have achieved in the last one year, future opponents will pay more attention to them.”

World Cup winners USA retained their number one spot while Spain, Australia and France occupy the second, third and fourth positions respectively.

Meanwhile, FIBA Africa president Hamane Niang has urged African countries to build on Nigeria and Senegal’s performances at the World Cup.

“We have to tip our hats off to Nigeria and Senegal for their performances against European teams,” Niang told FIBA.basketball.

“It was one of the objectives set out in Africa for our national teams to compete against the Europeans because, other than the USA and Australia, it is these sides from Europe that have been the big threats at past Women’s World Cups.

“For a very long time, African teams came to the World Cup to limit the damage as used to be said. What has been positive in this competition is that the African teams have played without any anxiety and on an equal footing with their opponents.

“For Nigeria and Senegal to prove themselves to be evenly matched with these teams is a source of great happiness for us. We’re convinced that what has happened in Tenerife is historic. To have one African team among the eight best women’s sides and two of them among the top 12 teams in the world is a performance we have to highlight so that future African teams coming to the competition will not do so just for the sake of taking part, but rather to rightfully represent the very best of the African game and continent.”

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