Chief coach of Nigeria’s national male team, Ayo Bakare has praised the Malian team for giving his squad a good fight despite losing 74-59 in the second match of Group D at the 2013 Afrobasket holding in Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire.
Bakare who was answering questions at a post-match conference said that “the result of the match didn’t show how difficult the game was for us, it didn’t show how hard they made us work,” as he praised his Malian counterpart for working on the team in so short a time and making them improve from what they used to be.
“It’s (Malian team) a very young team and they will get better and better in the year’s ahead,” Bakare said, adding that “I feel satisfied like any other coach who has won a match and I feel particularly relieved that we squeezed out a win against Mali because in this competition, any team can beat any team.”
He said he will now go ahead with his team to prepare against the Congo team in the next match on Friday.
The Congolese lost their first match to Cameroon 74-43, a result that places the Cameroonians on top of the group.
Co-captain of the Nigerian side, Ike Diogu, who amassed a total of 19 points, making him the highest in his side but second to Mali’s Boundy who scored 21 points, said after the grueling match that the long travels the team recently embarked on while preparing for the competition affected them in the first quarter which the Malians won 18-14.
He disclosed that after the first quarter they came back into the game because each player knew his role and had to play it, retorting to a question that “we don’t want to know of any team, all we have to do is focus on our game and take them as they come.”