[TR Sports] D’Tigers coach laments

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Nigeria’s men’s basketball team coach William Voigt has described their preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as pathetic, saying their training ahead of the trip to Brazil was largely on personal efforts of the team members rather than from the Nigerian government.

Voigt spoke at a post-match conference after D’Tigers’ last game in Brazil, which the African champions lost to the hosts 86-69 on Monday to end their 2016 Olympic journey at the group stage.

He said, “I think you understand what we faced, and I’m not a government official. I don’t want to pretend to know everything that went into that, but at this stage it’s pretty well-known that we didn’t receive any support, we did this on our own, and that’s a testament to these guys.

“We faced hardships as a team that the other groups couldn’t even fathom. I think it speaks volumes about them and it speaks volumes about what Ike (Diogu) was saying. The margins aren’t that big. Just something as simple as having food, a flight, having insurance for our top players (were all we needed).

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“We understand that is not necessarily where the country is at right now, but just the smallest amount of support will reap huge rewards.”

Voigt however added that, in spite of the challenges, the players showed that they could compete. He said there was no game that the team was humiliated despite being in a group that paraded the top five teams in the world.

“We were not just a circus act that came to town. I just felt that we play with a certain style that requires a tremendous amount of energy and effort that lets us be competitive and, for some reason, we didn’t just quite have the legs we needed. I can promise you that these guys gave every ounce that they had,” he added.

The Nigerian team trained in the US for the Olympics with the arrangements largely done by Voigt and his players with support from the basketball federation.

D’Tigers needed to get a second win to qualify for the quarter-finals after they had defeated Croatia on Saturday. In all it was four wins and a loss for the African champions.

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