Nigeria book ticket to London
Nigeria survived a 3rd quarter run by the Dominican Republic to secure the final ticket to the London Olympics last night in Caracas 88-73.
D Tigers simply had too many weapons and brought all to bear. Despite being forced to change from their lucky All green kit -in which they are yet to be beaten - the Nigerians looked just as comfortable in their back up All white.
Diogu was a monster especially in the 4th quarter when the West Africans repeatedly dialed his number. But so was Aminu Junior who swatted away Dominican balls all night ending up with a five of the Nigeria's eight blocks. His game was of such quality that the hardest decision of the night was who would win MVP, him or Diogu?
A beaming Diogu did.
The Dominicans though were no slouches and despite falling behind by double digits went on repeated runs that saw them tie once and come within two the second time. One Martinez rained destruction from far and the other went through the middle almost all night long. University of Kentucky's Coach Calipari and NBA journey man Dale Harris were at the helm of the Dominican ship and their savvy showed .
But so did Coach Bakare's. He used his bench perfectly - kick starting his defence as well as attack with the substitution of his role players. Even absolutely horrible shooting from the line could not derail his cats whose eyes never left the prize.
At the end of night it was him doing the dancing in the middle of the floor while his players celebrated with their fans high up in the stands.
Considering that Nigeria beat both the number four and five teams in the world before dismissing the team from the Caribbean, there is no doubt that the rightful team along with Russia and Lithuania are going to the London Olympics.
She now joins Tunisia as Africa's two representatives and we now know that she has the potential to go far in the tournament. But that is a story for another day.
Today is for a well deserved Nigerian celebration.