Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Bakare May Return As D'Tigers Coach

Lagos — There are strong indications that Ayo Bakare may stage a comeback as the Chief Coach of Nigeria's senior male national basketball team, D'Tigers.

Bakare took D Tigers to the London Olympic Games last year, but could not advance to the second round of the competition having, lost to Lithuania, France, Argentina and USA.

The coach, however, called it quit after the expiration of his contract after the London Games.

Sources close to the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) hinted Daily Trust that Bakare, who turns 53 on March 20, may take the country to the 2013 FIBA Afrobasket Championship later in the year in Côte d'Ivoire.

A member of the NBBF, Babs Ogunade, disclosed that out of all contenders for D'Tigers plum job, Bakare is the most qualified judging from what he had achieved for Nigeria in the past especially at the Olympic Games.

"I think the record speaks volume of what Bakare had done for the country. This stands him out to get the job back," Ogunade said.

Assistant coach to Bakare at the Olympic Games, Sani Ahmed, also corroborated Ogunade on the need to recall Bakare to take Nigeria to the next Afrobasket this year.

Ahmed, coach of Kano Pillars Basketball Club, who is optimistic that he and Bakare will be given a renew contract back to D'Tigers said: "We've finished our assignment with the Olympics and I believe if there will be any renewal it will happen with me assisting Bakare on the job. This is not an issue whether Ayo Bakare will be back or not, to me, who will the NBBF appoints?"

Tunisia is the defending champions of the Afrobasket with Angola, the runners up. Nigeria's D'Tigers are third. Other countries that have qualified for the competition are Burkina Faso, Morocco, Algeria, Senegal, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Cameroon and Congo.

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