World Cup: D’Tigress confident of beating USA

Nigeria female basketball coach, Otis Hughley, has expressed optimism ahead of his side’s clash with the United States at the FIBA World Cup in Spain.

The D’Tigress maintained their improbable run, defeating Greece on Wednesday to reach the last eight.

Ahead of Friday’s cracker against the Americans, Hughley claims his ladies are prepared for the world’s best basketballing nation.

“We’re going to have to be really, really prepared to put ourselves in position to be competitive with the best in the world,” he said.

“There’s no question that would be a miracle. We could be the eighth wonder of the world.”

The D’Tigress’ groundbreaking feat has attracted loads of plaudits back home, including President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Oh man, you have no idea! I’ve probably gotten like 1,000 new followers on Instagram between two days ago and now,” the team’s guard Sarah Ogoke said. “Everybody’s watching.”

Hughley didn’t want to begin to speculate the positive impact his team has had on the country.

“You can’t quantify it. I’m sure they will be able to in the years to come,” said the gaffer, who grew up in New York.

“I’m sure there are little girls with pictures of these girls in their rooms, yelling at the TV, bragging in school. I just can’t understand what this might mean to Nigeria right now.”

While it may seem that a win over the U.S. is nearly impossible, the Nigerian players aren’t intimidated by their next opponent, which has won 19 straight World Cup games and features 12 WNBA stars.

Many of the Nigerian team members played college basketball with and against some of the American players.

“Honestly, that’s been my dream, to play against them, since I made the national team,” said Ogoke.

“Everybody on the team has played against them. Whether it was in college or overseas or in high school or whatever, like half those girls I know personally. I grew up with them, we worked out together, just from high school. It’s just another game to me, honestly, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Ogoke, who grew up in Houston then joked how they are the same.

“They have two eyes just like we have two eyes,” she said. “They don’t have six heads.”