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Commonwealth Games: D’Tigers coach drops Obekpa, Efevberha





’Tana Aiyejina

D’Tigers captain Ike Diogu tops coach Alex Nwora’s 12-man list for the Australia 2018 Commonwealth Games released by the Nigeria Basketball Federation on Tuesday.

However, Christopher Obekpa, Michael Efevberha and Bryant Mbamalu, who put up impressive performances at the 2018 World Cup qualifiers in Mali last month, were dropped for  the Games.

Thirty-four-year-old Diogu, a 2015 AfroBasket winner and veteran of the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games leads the team made up of six home  and six overseas-based players.

The five other overseas-based players invited by Nwora are relatively unknown.

Hard-working guard Uchenna Ireogbu is set for his D’Tigers debut in Australia after an impressive outing for Stony Brooks in the 2016/17 NCAA season. He is joined by fellow US-based trio Olantunji Graham, Ofoegbu Chima and Achiuwa Onyekachi. They would join the rest of their teammates in Australia from the US, a statement from the NBBF said.

Completing the list of overseas-based player is Orizu Ifeanyi, who features for the Far Eastern University in the Philippines.

Kano Pillars guard Azuoma Dike leads the home-based stars, which also include his Pillars teammates Abdul Yahaya and Dung Eli Abraham.

Mark Mentors’ Musa Usman, regarded as the rebound specialist on the domestic scene, also made the squad to the Commonwealth Games after missing out on the World Cup qualifiers in Mali last month.

Gombe Bulls duo Abdulwahab Yakubu and Istifanus Sylvanus complete Nwora’s list for the trip to Australia.

D’Tigers, who are in Group B alongside Australia, New Zealand and Canada, are expected to end their camping on March 22, before proceeding on the long trip to Brisbane on March 23, ahead of their opening game against New Zealand on April 6.

Nwora will  be assisted by Aderemi Adewunmi and Mohammed Abdulrahman.

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