*Begin campaign 18th August against Mozambique
Nigeria’s national women’s basketball team, the D’Tigress, have been drawn against continental giants which includes perennial rivals and defending champions, Senegal, Egypt, Guinea, Mozambique and yet to be determined representative of Zone 4 in Group B for the 2017 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket.
According to the official draw held on Saturday in Bamako, the Malian capital, teams drawn in Group A are host Mali, Cameroon who hosted the last edition in 2015, Tunisia, Cote d’Ivoire and power house, Angola. The last spot in the group has been reserved for a wild card team.
The Nigerian ladies who were bronze medallists in the 2015 edition were incidentally in the same group with Senegal who they beat but lost in the crucial semi final to Cameroon. They however, beat the 2013 champions, Angola for the bronze.
FIBA stated that the 12-team competition will take place from 18th to 27th August at the Palais des Sports Salamatou Maiga in Bamako. It also serves as a qualifier for the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018 holding in Spain.
The First-phase will be played in a round-robin format, with every team taking on its five opponents in its respective groups. The top four teams from each group will advance to the Second-Phase.
The tournament will be played in a knock-out format from the quarter-finals onwards. The third-place game and the final will be played on the last day of the competition, Sunday, 27th August 2017.
The FIBA technical report for the 2015 edition stated that “if statistics are anything to go by, then Nigeria were the better team in the competition (because they) scored more points per game (76) than any other team, they averaged tournament-highs (48.9 rebounds and 17 assists per game) and recorded the highest efficiency rate of 81.9.
The report however, said that unlike Senegal, Scott ‘Computer’ Nnaji’s team paid the price for allowing Cameroon to come back in the semi-final after leading for most of the contest and that breakdown proved costly.