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Former D’Tigers captain, Olumide Oyedeji, said that Nigeria doesn’t require team filled with stars to win medals in both the men and women basketball events at the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games in Japan.
Oyedeji, who was responding to online questions on ‘FCT Football Update’, urged the teams’ technical crew to ensure that they provide a better structure, organization and adequate team spirit for them to excel, adding that home-based should be carried along in the final squad.
“I do not doubt that if we have a better structure and organization, we have the capabilities to win medals at the Olympic Games,” he said.
’’I believe the coaching crew knows what they need to do. They just have to put the team together, based on what they need. We don’t need too many stars. By the time we have too many stars, there will be ego and attitude. We just need to have 10 solid players”.
“There is no reason why we shouldn’t have one home-based player in the team. Not all 12 players will have equal minutes.”
According to the former NBA star “We should allow one home-based player to know that for you being at home in Nigeria isn’t a crime. I had the same opportunity in 1997 when I joined the Nigeria national team. Since that time my career has never been the same and we won a Medal. We can do the same and give the players back home an opportunity and belief it is not a crime to be a Nigerian Basketball League player,” he said.
Oyedeji, who also the president Nigeria Olympians Association (NOA) noted that the postponement of the Olympics Games to next year will create room for athletes to improve for podium performance before the start of the world showpiece.
“Nigeria Basketball has been growing and improving. We have players all over the world, growing and performing well. We have players all over the world. Just this year alone, we have seen five to six players with Nigerian roots that can compete at the highest level.”
“We even actually have a better chance next year at the Olympic Games than 2020. We are going to see a lot of young guys coming to fight for medals.”
The athlete representative of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) also revealed how the outbreak of COVID-19 has affected sports globally.
“COVID-19 has paralyzed the whole world, not only sports. As we can see people all over the world started losing their jobs, the economy started getting bad, businesses shutting down everywhere and every day. The implication of COVID-19 is bad and shifting the date of the Games is in our best interest” he concluded.