Nigeria’s Akaraiwe eager to put Women’s World Cup experience on display at FIBA 3x3 Africa Cup
31 Oct 2018
LAGOS (FIBA 3x3 Africa Cup 2018) – Fulfilling ones desires in life comes in different ways and for Nkem Akaraiwe being part of Nigeria’s 8th place finish at the FIBA Women’s World Cup in Spain is just one of such fulfillment.
Another one on her mind is the FIBA 3x3 Africa Cup 2018 which she and her teammates lost narrowly to Mali last year in Lome, Togo.
Akaraiwe, a key player with the Nigerian side First Bank, believes that thunder does not strike twice on the spot and as such would give her all to see Nigeria take the title this time not minding the opposition.
"WE MISSED THE FIBA 3x3 AFRICA CUP 2017 TITLE. THIS YEAR PRESENTS US ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY AND WE WILL MAKE SURE TO REACH OUR SET GOAL."- Akaraiwe
Still smarting from the experience of playing against the best players at the FIBA Women’s World Cup 2018, Akaraiwe told FIBA.basketball that she intends to play her part to make it as an African champion in the 3x3 championship.
"Nigeria won the FIBA AfroBasket 2017 title and as result secured ticket for the FIBA Women's World Cup in Spain where we finished 8th, but we missed the FIBA 3x3 Africa Cup 2017 title. This year presents us another opportunity and we will make sure to reach our set goal."
The player who stands at 6ft2in (1.87m) described the World Cup in Spain as a great experience.
"It’s a tournament where you see a lot of great players of different caliber and being a younger player, I had to learn a lot from them both on and off the court and some of those lessons I will put into my game," she stressed.
With the spread of the FIBA 3x3 in Africa today, Akaraiwe believes that other countries would come out forcefully to also challenge for the title, but she insists her experience will play a part.
"They say defense wins championships, but I think it has changed now. I see putting the ball more into the bucket winning championships, so, I will consider shooting more as one of the options of winning the title this time for Nigeria and playing more defense," Akaraiwe noted.
Twelve teams including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Togo and Uganda will be competing for medals.
This competition will also be an opportunity for teams to compile points that will in the long run help with qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics where 3x3 basketball will make a historic debut appearance.