Coach of the national basketball team Ayo Bakare has refused to acknowledge the fact that the Nigerian team at the London Games have more heroics than Tunisia. Nigeria will play Tunisia at 9am today in the first jump ball for the men's event and Bakare insists that D'Tigers are the underdogs.
Bakare who spoke after his team defeated an all-star selected side 69-66, said the Tunisians are seeded higher as African champions and that fact must be respected.
He said, "Even if we had beaten the whole world in Venezuela to qualify, the fact remains we got through after a second chance. Is that what you people call re-sit in exams? On Sunday (today), the Tunisians will be introduced as African champions and that is key. We are also from Africa and so if they are champions, what adjective will go for us that will be stronger than champions or gold medalists in any competition?
"That is why I insist that we are the underdogs when we are placed side by side because we were also in that competition that gave them the title."
At Madagascar 2011, where the African Championship held, Nigeria and Tunisia could not play directly against each other as Nigeria lost to Angola in the semi-finals while Tunisia defeated Cameroon to produce a final duel between Angola and Tunisia. The last time they met each other at Morocco 2003, Nigeria defeated them in the classification match to finish fifth.
But despite the status of the North Africans as African champions, the international basketball community rate Nigeria above them based on their overall records and the exposure of players both sides parade.