The Nigerian U23 wheelchair basketball team had an impressive performance at the U23 World Championship qualifiers by making it to the finals where they played against host country, South Africa. Sadly, their performance was not good enough to get them a ticket to the World Championship scheduled for next year.
Four teams were expected to participate in the qualifiers - Zimbabwe, Nigeria, South Africa and Algeria. However, only three showed up as Algeria could not make it. The Nigerian team play two round robin games against each team with South Africa winning with 3 points on both occasion. Nigeria's best game of the tournament was against Zimbabwe. They won convincingly with 36 points. The game ended 65 - 29.
The South African team won the final game against Nigeria to secure a spot on the U23 World Championship, the only one available for Africa. The final game ended 48 - 36.
We are proud of the Nigeria team for their performance. Without a doubt, they have what it takes to be Africa's powerhouse in wheelchair basketball, a post currently occupied by South Africa. We only need more investment in wheelchair basketball in form of training equipment and facilities, better player welfare and more tournaments.
The major wheelchair basketball tournament organised in the country at the moment is the Hon Victor Ochei International Wheelchair Basketball Tournament.