Coach Scott Nnaji of the national senior women basketball team yesterday assured that the team was ready to participate in the 2013 Women Afrobasket Championship billed for Mozambique.
Nnaji said in Abuja after the team rounded up its training ahead of departure that the team had grown stronger by the day.
The team will participate in the 2013 African Women Basketball Championship, tagged “Women Afrobasket Championship’’ and scheduled for Sept. 20 to Sept. 26 in Maputo, Mozambique.
“We are getting stronger and getting to understand each other by the day and we will make sure that, by the time we play our first match at the competition, we will understand ourselves more.
“Though I have not seen the other teams but I am sure that our will to perform is what is carrying us on,” Nnaji said.
The coach of the two-time Women Afrobasket winners, who are also known as ‘D’Tigress’, assured that the team would not overrate or underrate any team.
“We will rather play at our best. In addition, we are not rating any team too high, we only believe in the strength that we have. We will do our best, and we believe that our best will see us through.
“When you start thinking of some teams as being exceptionally good, you will begin to undermine what you have in your team.
“As for us, we will look at everybody as an opponent and we won’t rate some bigger than the others,” he said.
Nnaji said his team would put it in mind that every team it meets was the same so as to be able to play to its best.
“If you relax your mind that this is a big team or a small team, you might end up getting surprised by the smaller teams. So, we rate every team as the same.
“Nevertheless, we will respect those with good records. But we will not rate them too high above us. That will make us appear as being inferior,” he said.
One of the players, Sarah Ogueke who is appearing in the national team for the second time, expressed optimism that the team would emerge as the tournament’s champions.
“My assessment of the team is that we have excellent leadership with the way we see our coaches and that is where a team’s good performance starts from.
“Also, they (the coaches) have been emphasising teamwork. So, as long as we go into the competition with the same type of mindset, there is nothing that will stop us.
“Although in competitions like these, other teams will stand in our way to the trophy. But we promise to deal with them as they come.
“So, Nigerians should expect nothing from us apart from the gold medal,” Ogueke said.
The Nigerian team is drawn in Group B alongside defending champions Angola, Mali, Cameroon, Kenya and Cape Verde. (NAN)