The senior national men’s basketball team, D’Tigers Captain, Ike Diogu, has blamed the conflicting schedule of the FIBA international calendar for the continued absence of some members of the 2015 Afrobasket team.
He said that Stan Okoye, Olaseni Lawal, Al-Farouk, Alade Aminu and Chamberlain Oguchi, who had yet to contribute their qualities to the current squad had been seriously engaged in club duties.
Diogu on Tuesday dispelled rumours of conflicts between the players and the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) as reasons for their continued absence, saying the players remained patriotic and ready to serve.
“As captain of the D’Tigers, I can confirm that I have continued to maintain good communication with the players.”
Diogu said the conflicting international calendar of global basketball governing body for the qualifiers had not really helped the said players who had all expressed their readiness to feature for D’Tigers.
He said it would be unfair to compare him (who plays in China) with other players in the NBA and Europe with longer seasons.
“The good thing with me playing in China is that I have a lot of flexibility as my season is a lot shorter than these guys playing in Europe or NBA.
“I don’t really need much notice but some of these guys need more of the notice than they are given, so they are not able to get out of their engagements,” the Sichuan Blue Whales of China player said.
Diogu, who is a regular in the team under Head Coach Alex Nwora, confirmed that the bulk of the 2015 set were ready to be part of the ongoing building team.
“I talked to Stan Okoye, Olaseni Lawal, Al-Farouk and Alade Aminu as well Chamberlain Oguchi. All of them want to be here and support us.
“We are one big family and there is no animosity because there is nobody who does not want to play, we all love playing for Nigeria.”
He expressed the hope that come September, some of the players would be around to help the team qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Lagos, Nigeria has been cleared by FIBA to host Group F matches which has Senegal, Central Africa, Rwanda, Cote d’Ivoire and Mali.
The FIBA World Cup qualifiers will dunk off on Sept. 14 and end on Sept. 16.
Nigeria currently leads the pack with 12 points from six games played so far. (NAN)