D’Tigers can shock Team USA – Kaleh
BY JACOB AJOM
First Vice President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, Muktar Kaleh has told Nigerians that the national male basketball team, D’Tigers that qualified for the London Olympics last week had equal chances of qualifying from the group stage like any other team in their group, which parades the likes of USA, Lithuania, France, Argentina and fellow African representatives, Tunisia.
Muktar who spoke with Sports Vanguard at the National Stadium, Lagos was unfazed by the quality of opposition in Nigeria’s group, insisting, however, “the Olympics is open for everybody, any team can spring surprises.”
Said he, “We are taking any team with all the seriousness and we are not going to underrate any team. We are going to put in our best, like we did in the qualifiers and then we will watch what comes out at the end of the competition.”.
Asked if he hoped for a Nigeria victory over the dreaded American Dream Team 7, the NBBF chieftain retorted, “America is the best basketball nation and have a fantastic team. Although I am not saying categorically that D’Tigers will beat the USA, I repeat, no team cannot be beaten, We will play America with all our hearts and take our chances and at the end of the day we will be happy we qualified for the Olympics and played against America. D’Tigers will not fear any team in London but can only respect them. Any team that underrates us could pay dearly for that.”
Muktar said when Team USA played Brazil in a pre-Olympic tune up match, Monday night, the Americans had to resort to their reserve bench before overcoming Brazil.
He recalled, “D’Tigers a chance, today everybody is talking about them being the team to watch.”