By Albert Akota
Assistant Coach of D’Tigers, Mohammed Abdulrahman is still optimistic of his team winning a medal at the 21st Commonwealth Games holding in Gold Coast Australia.
Speaking from the team’s camp in Cairns after their second loss in as many games on Saturday, a resilient Abdulrahman said despite his team still in search for the winning formula, they are still in the race to return home with a medal.
“We are still trying to get the winning formula to really get us there. We are just temporarily down, but we are not out of the competition.”
“We are still hoping that we can be on the podium regardless of the medal we can get. It is not over unless we are out of the tournament.
We are not going to lose hope, we are going to keep playing and hoping that we can be able to get to the podium,” the Gombe Bulls head coach said.
Explaining how they intend to win the medal despite losing their second group game, he said the possibility of getting to the semi-finals is as bright as that of any other teams competing in the games.
“We have 2 life lines. If we don’t get to make it as the first 2 teams in the group, we will still get to play against the best 2 teams in group A for a slot in the semi-finals. So, it’s never over until it’s all over.
Although still hurting from their surprise 67- 82 points loss on Saturday to a young Canadian side, he said the loss against the North Americans was more painful because of his team’s level of confidence heading into the encounter.
“Nobody likes to lose, it’s even worse for us because we were confident and so sure of beating Canada. We don’t feel good about the loss, it hurts.”
He said the win clearly proved that lack of requisite experience can be complemented with a team’s desire and ambition to win games.
They will continue their quest to record their first win at the Commonwealth Games when they meet Australia today.
New Zealand dominated and won all the quarters on a night that the Ike Diogu captained side will want to forget in a hurry as they focus on the next game against North American side, Canada on Saturday.
After a close game in the first and second quarters which ended 24-15 and 26-20 points respectively in favour of New Zealand, D’Tigers could not cope with the firepower of the team currently ranked 38 in the latest FIBA ranking in the third quarter as they widened the margin with a 31-8 scoreline before sealing the victory with another 29-22points scoreline to wrap up the game.
Kano Pillars star man, Dike Azouma was the highest scorer for the team on the night scoring 15 points (with an 80% percent success from the 3 point line), 3 rebounds and 1 assist while ever reliable Diogu scored 12 points and 7 rebounds.
Making his national team debut, homeboy, Istfanus Yakubu scored 10points with just about 14minutes on the floor with the technical crew giving all the players bar Musa Usman a taste of action in the opening game.