By: Gyang Dakwo
Nigeria’s qualification for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup suffered a setback with a 70-67 loss to African Basketball powerhouse Angola.
With the win, Angola moved closer to gaining qualification for the FIBA Basketball World Cup by claiming three straight wins after beating Uganda, Cape Verde, and Nigeria to complete the first round of Group E in Abidjan
Against Nigeria, the Angolans came out prepared knowing the opposition before them and were full of energy as Coach Jose Claros Canals started Gerson Domingos, Childe Dundao, Jilson Bango, Leonel Paulo, and Bruno Fernando to size up the Nigerians.
Angola utilized every opportunity from the poor ball handling of Nigeria and the turnovers to dominate the game and score points.
Though Nigeria tried to come back with flashes of three-point shots from Amanze Egekeze as well as drives from Chimezie Metu and Josh Okogie, the Angolans remained resolute in defense.
Speaking after the match, Nigeria’s Head Coach Mfon Udofia said even though it was a disappointing result for them, the team is still focused on the tasks ahead which are winning and qualifying for the world cup.
Nigeria’s guard, Amanze Egezeke believes the team is not down and out.
“What was frustrating for us was that we turned the ball over 22 times which was the difference in the game. We out-rebounded them but we didn’t take care of the balls getting into the basket. However, we will get back and work towards the next window,” he said.