NBBF invites 25 ladies for Olympic qualifiers


Pius Ayinor

The Nigeria Basketball Federation has called up 25 players for the Olympics Qualifying Tournament holding in Nantes, France from June 3 to 19. They are billed to assemble in Abuja from May 15.

The list obtained by The PUNCH has mix of players from the last the African Women Championship in Cameroon and a new set of hopefuls essentially from the domestic Zenith Bank League. The Nigerian ladies will campaign in Group C alongside Belarus and South Korea.

Nigeria qualified for the OQT after placing third at the continental championship, Afrobasket. Cameroon is the other African country in the qualifying games leading to the 2016 Rio Olympics. Senegal picked the only direct ticket to Brazil for Africa.

D’Tigresses are striving to return to the Olympics after their first outing at the Athens 2004 Games.

The players from the Zenith League are Okpe Patience (Dolphins), Chioma Udeaja (First Bank), Nkechi Akashile (First Bank), Upe Atosu (First Bank), Akaraiwe Nkem (First Bank) and Chinyere Juliet (First Bank). There are also Idoko Patience (Benue Queens), Isaac Christiana (IGP Queens), Okeke Ebere (Customs) and Umeh Gloria (Plateau Rocks).

Nigeria qualified for the OQT after placing third at the continental championship, Afrobasket for Women in Cameroon last year.

In Lagos eight teams are expected in Lagos today (Thursday) for the finals of the Zenith League which begins Friday at the Sports Hall of the National Stadium. The matches will begin on Saturday.

Defending champions, Dolphins and First Bank will be joined by Customs, Delta Force, AHIP Queens of Kano, IGP Queens, Benue Princess and Plateau Rocks.

The All-Stars Match is scheduled for Wednesday, May 11 while the final match will hold on Thursday, May 12.

The Full list:

Ogunjimi Helen, Ogoke Sarah, Elonu Adaora, Madu Ndidi, Imovbioh Sarah, Edeferioka Edema, Ibiam Elem, Ugoka Uju, Ekworomadu Joyce, Kalu Ezinne, Amukamara Promise, Ibekwe Ifunanya, Nwaigwe Ugochi, Sanni Olayinka, Atonye Nyingifa, Atosu Upe, Udeaja Chioma, Akashili Nkechi, Idoko Patience, Okpe Patience, Chinyere Juliet, Akaraiwe Nkem, Isaac Christiana, Okeke Ebere, Umeh Gloria.

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