London 2012: Nigeria’s D’Tigers’ Overcome Tunisia
Nigeria’s 60-56 win over Tunisia yesterday in the men’s basketball competition of the 2012 Olympic Games was against many odds, a cross-section of the match participants have said.
Officials and players of both teams admitted, in a post match interview with Tidesports source, that Nigeria’s victory was a surprise.
Tunisia’s Makram Ben-Romdhane said that in spite of their preparation for the match, things failed to work out well for the North African side.
“We prepared for a good game, but many things didn’t work out for us, even though it’s the first time we played against Nigeria. They were a strong team.
“Although we had a strong and good defense, we always fail to finish well which affected us very well against a team we were expected to beat,’’ he told the source.
On his part, teammate Mehdi Hafsi said that his team had no excuse for not winning the game.
“I know that the 9 a.m timing for the game was not the best, but it was the same condition for both teams, and it is not an excuse.
“This was why we woke up very early at 7.10 a.m. We only need to get our rhythm. In the first half, we only scored 20 points and that was bad as we did not play well.
“We lost a lot of balls and didn’t score the easy baskets. But in the second half, we came onto the court with a different option, and we defended well and played together,” he said.
D’Tigers’ Alade Aminu, scorer of most of his team’s points in the match, said a lot of people had expected the Tunisians to beat them.
“People waited to see Tunisia dominate us in the low post, but those things motivate us the more. And that is what it was all about, about motivation,” he said.
Reflecting on the fact that Nigeria beat the Tunisians 42-39 on the rebounds counter, Aminu said it was a matter of planning well.
“We knew they were bigger than us, but that was why I was there, to bring energy to the team, battle for every rebound and get us the ball back,” he said.
Aminu, who scored 15 points and had nine rebounds during the match, said his team wanted to be remembered in the history books as winners.
“When you are at the Olympics, you will always want to be remembered as a winner, and that kept us on, and that is what we did,” he said.
D’Tigers will contend with Lithuania tomorrow in their second match at the Olympics.