The Federal Government has urged the country’s women’s national basketball team, D’Tigress, to shun drug addiction and other forms of social vices for them to enjoy the benefits of winning the 2023 FIBA Women’s Afrobasket Tournament.

Ismaila Abubakar, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development, gave the advice on Sunday during a light reception organised for the team at the VIP lounge of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.

“In sports, you must be a clean athlete; by this I mean you should shun drug addiction and other forms of social vices,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that D’Tigress returned on Sunday from Kigali, Rwanda, host of the 2023 Women’s Afrobasket tournament, through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and were received by officials of the Ministry of Sports.

The Nigerian ladies emerged as African champions for the fourth consecutive time on Friday following their 84-74 win over Senegal in the final of the tournament.

Abubakar described the feat as phenomenal, noting that President Bola Tinubu was proud of the team’s performance and achievement at the competition.

“The team demonstrated the resilience of the Nigerian spirit and this propelled the ladies to victory at the championship.

“They should always be prepared whenever they are called upon to represent the country especially now that the Olympics will be coming up in 2024 in France.

“So, whatever strategy adopted must be replicated at the games for us to remain at the top.”

He stated, “We must commend the management of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) led by Musa Kida, in spite of his health challenge, raised a formidable team that made this nation proud.

“I just received the team and the next step will be to submit a report to Mr President and from there, the president will know the appropriate time to receive them,” Abubakar said.

The coach of the team, Rena Wakama, expressed gratitude to the nation, especially the NBBF, for giving her the opportunity to lead the team.

Wakama also lauded her players for ensuring that the country recorded her fourth straight victory at the tournament.

“I also thank my parents, and my fellow coaches who encouraged me on the task and I assure everyone that we will continue to grow the game.”

The Most Valuable Player of the tournament, Amy Okonkwo, said she was delighted with the love, focus and team spirit demonstrated by the players and coaches.

Okonkwo noted that love among the team was the reason they won the tournament.

“It was a difficult and physical tournament that demanded a lot of hard work.

“Luckily, I had my teammates and coaches behind me and they enabled me to win the MVP,” she said.

Also speaking, D’Tigress Point Guard, Elizabeth Balogun, said their toughest match was against Mozambique.

She urged the federation to work towards providing the team with assorted kits for future outings.

NAN reports that the D’Tigress became the second team ever after their Senegalese counterparts to win four consecutive titles and extend their unbeaten run to 23 games.

The last time the team lost a game in the Women’s AfroBasket was in 2015 against Cameroon in the semi-finals.

NAN

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