Nigeria’s D’Tigers will today battle Côte d’Ivoire counterparts in a make or mar Group C final match at the ongoing Afrobasket Championship in Rwanda.
Following the expansion of the participating teams at the Afrobasket to 16 with only group winners gaining automatic ticket to the quarter final, both teams will have everything to play for.
With D’Tigers and the Ivorians on a two game unbeaten run against Kenya and Mali, Coach Mike Brown knows that winning the game puts his team in a better position to achieve what they have set out to do in Kigali.
Although the Ivorians currently top the group on superior points made, all that will count for nothing when both sides meet on Sunday for the highly anticipated game.
Reacting ahead of the game, the D’Tigers handler- Mike Brown described his next opposition as a well-coached side while expecting a very tough and physical contest.
“I don’t know yet because I have not spent a lot of time watching them. I do know they play extremely hard and they are well coached. We have to come out and fight for 40 minutes”.
The last time both sides met, Nigeria defeated the Ivorians 83-66 on the 6th of September, 2019 in the classification round of the FIBA World Cup.
This result will count for nothing with Nigeria parading a different set of players in Kigali.
Strategically, Brown said his team cannot afford to be intimated.
“They need to take care of the ball and be wary of needless turnovers against a highly physical team. We have to keep them off the glass because they are a physical team that rebounds well and we have to really take care of the ball because they really get up there defensively”. (Leadership)