Abdul Yahaya: ''Nigeria heading to Lome to retain Africa Cup with a focus on Tokyo 2020''
23 Oct 2018
ABUJA (FIBA 3x3 Africa Cup 2018) – Conquering tough oppositions in the journey to be the best in whatever he lays his hands on has over the years been the keyword for Nigeria's Abdul Yahaya.
Yahaya, who captained Nigeria to lift the inaugural FIBA 3x3 Africa Cup 2017 in Lome, Togo, does not just have his sight on retaining the title but revealed that he and his teammates are eyeing a slot in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
"There’s a whole lot to look ahead to at the Final Round of this year's FIBA 3x3 Africa Cup. First is our desire and determination to retain the African title we won in 2017 but also to accumulate points that would help us in regards to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics."
The 28-year-old, who stars for Kano Pillars of Nigeria at basketball club level and is a member of the Nigeria Men’s team that finished second place in the FIBA AfroBasket 2017, believes that no team would be a pushover in Lome.
"There are several teams that have experience from the 3x3 basketball at different levels and it is certain that they would come out very strong this time around. We are the defending champions and it's no news that other African countries will come really hard on us this time," he pointed out.
Speaking on Nigeria’s participation at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2018 in the Philippines, Yahaya told FIBA.basketball that his team has been exposed to a lot of new things which he hopes would work wonders for the team in the Africa Cup which will take place from November 9-11 in Lome, Togo.
“We have learnt a lot from our FIBA 3x3 World Cup outing in the Philippines. We have learnt a couple of interesting 3x3 tricks and we hope that can work to our own advantage.”
Aside getting to lift the title again this year, the 6ft 8in (2.03m) player also said that he is not just targeting the FIBA 3x3 Africa Cup title but is also looking forward to being a part of Nigeria’s World Cup team to China 2019.
“My target is to be on the D'Tigers World Cup 2019 team. And of course, I'm not going to just sit and hope for it to happen. I'm going to work really hard to attain that goal and the FIBA 3x3 Africa Cup is a good opportunity to show that I belong there,” he added.