Nigeria’s U-16 basketball coach, Fubawa Onyanabo, has stated that his boys will play an aggressive, pressing game when they lock horns with Tunisia in the quarter-finals of the FIBA U-16 African Basketball Championship at the Vava Duarte gymnasium in Praia, the capital of Cape Verde, on Friday (today).
Nigeria finished second on the Group A log with seven points behind Egypt, winning three games with one loss while Tunisia in Group B finished third behind Mali and Guinea, losing two games and winning two.
Speaking ahead of the crucial fixture, Onyanabo, said,”We are going to be aggressive, we are going to break all their screens. In their final group game against Rwanda, they had a filled day, their shots were just going in, so we need to learn how to play from outside the paint.
“The Tunisian team are fundamentally sound, they look sluggish but they know exactly what they are doing. They do the right things at the right time on the court. Firstly, they shoot from outside a lot and also penetrate. So, we need to learn how to work on that defensively.”
The Nigerians had a shaky game against Algeria in their final group game, losing the final two quarters but the coach attributed their performance to “fighting a wounded lion.”
“We can’t take it away from the Algerians. First, they came to the court having lost three games in a row and they had nothing to lose, which made them play with more freedom. Their three-point shots were flowing and I think our boys to some extent stopped playing to instruction.”
Despite the serene atmosphere, the coach said the food on the Coastal country has been a turn off for the boys.
“In terms of food, it has been very boring. For the past six days, what we have been eating is bread, white rice without sauce and pasta. It has been so bad in terms of food but we have no option.
“One of the high points is when one of our top administrator took us to a Nigerian restaurant and when we also took the boys to the beach. It is a beautiful country and we also want the boys to enjoy it.”
The team was sponsored to the tournament by Nestlé Milo, with the players selected from the recently-concluded Milo championship.