Basketball fans on Wednesday expressed disappointment with the D’Tigers who fell to Lithuania 80-89 in their second group game of the ongoing basketball event at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The fans told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that though the national team had played better against Lithuania, it’s tough to accept the loss.
A former Head Coach of Lagos Islanders, Lateef Erinfolami, rueing the loss, heaped praise on the team for raising their game.
“As a Nigerian, it is normal to be disappointed with the loss to Lithuania, and considering we also lost our first game to Argentina, it is indeed hard to bear.
“However, one has to also accept that we are in a tough group where all opponents are ranked the best in the world of basketball.
“The team just have to be more physical and play hard when they engage Spain which is another powerhouse in mainstream basketball,’’ Erinfolami said.
The coach added that the loss of Olaseni Lawal to injury and Al `Farouq Aminu’s absence in the team was heavily felt as both players are leaders in the team.
“The loss of Aminu and Lawal is heavily felt, both players are tough and charismatic in their approach; they could have provided that psychological advantage to the team.
“D’Tigers can still play well against Spain, but only if they employ more physical play just like the U.S. team who, regardless of their skills, rely on their physicality to intimidate oppositions.
“The team will just have to step up their game and produce the quality that crowned them 2015 FIBA Africa champions in Tunisia,’’ Erinfolami said.
Similarly, Ahmed Sani, the Head Coach of Kano Pillars, said that the team played well but Lithuania showed they were the better experienced team.
“It is tough to see us lose again; we almost did it having claimed the first and second quarters of the game, sincerely the team should not be downcast.
“They need to be more physical and continue to work hard on their offensive play and hopefully push Spain a little harder to record a vital result for their campaign,’’ Sani said.
D’Tigers take on Spain on Thursday evening and will need to pick a win to boost their chances as they face Brazil and Croatia in their last group matches. (NAN)