The FIBA Africa U-16 Zone 3 Qualifiers kicked off on Thursday, 22 June 2023 with a match between Ivory Coast and Nigeria at Eden Heights in Accra.
Nigeria began the competition on a strong footing with a commanding 67-38 victory over Ivory Coast who are looking to participate in the FIBA Africa U-16 tournament.
Nigeria took the wind off the sail of the Ivorians with a 16-06 lead in the first quarter. They kept the ten-point lead in the second quarter with a 31-21 scoreline before ending the third quarter on 47-34.
In an interaction with the press after the game, Sambo Abraham Nadabu, a player of the Nigerian side express excitement with the victory and commended his teammates for putting up a good show.
He was frustrated with his failure to bag a number of three-pointers but is confident that the performance will improve in the subsequent matches.
The head coach of the Nigeria team detailed the tactical innovations he had to deploy to counter Ivory Coast’s offensive play.
He praised them for being a solid team, discounting the tag of ‘cheap team’ placed on the losing side.
The Ivorian coach, Nigardinga Eloi believes that the next match will afford his side the opportunity to correct the mistakes they made in their game against Nigeria.
President of the Ghana Basketball Federation, Ato Van-Ess believes that the tournament will afford Ghana an opportunity to host future tournaments.
He believes that time is due for the country to host elite and international basketball competitions and that the U-16 tournament is the first many.
The competition continues on Friday, June 23, 2023 with Ghana’s male and female teams expected to take on Ivory Coast and Nigeria respectively.