Any match-up between team Nigeria and team USA is always one to watch out for. Regardless of the competition, the stage, the sports etc. what these two countries bring to the game, in terms of talent level is peerless.
As we anticipate the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Nigeria and USA will lock-horns in friendly games, as preparation for the mundial intensifies.The American men’s team has been practicing in Las Vegas this week.
The first friendly game for both sides (Nigeria and USA) will be played on the 10th of July, 10pm Nigerian time, 5pm est, at the Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay, better known as the home of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces.
The D’tigers of Nigeria are currently the 22nd best team in the world, led by Golden State Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown. They opened their camp back in June, inviting 49 players to camp. Coach Brown has continuously praised the talent level in the Nigerian team, but that could be down to the fact that their roster is stacked with NBA players. A total of 13 NBA players were on their preliminary roster, which includes Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby, Pistons forward Jahlil Okafor and former NBA player Ike Diogu, who are not in the team, they miss out in the 15 player provisional list named by coach Brown.
With the roster, that does not put the Nigerian team ahead of Spain and France, but you will agree with me that the guys in the team are capable of doing wonders when the Olympics starts. Many of the newest players representing Nigeria are doing so for the first time.
After the D’Tigers roster was reduced 15, there are still 8 NBA players, something that is impressive for a country which isn’t as well established on the world stage as the USA, Spain, France, Australia, Argentina, etc.
In truth, despite the quality in the Nigerian team, beating team USA is an herculean task, as their firepower doesn’t really match. But the positives is seeing more American dual nationals playing for other countries for various reasons. A reason that is not far-fetched, because those players do not have the chance of playing for the USA.
USA played against Nigeria in the London 2012 Olympics, but trust me i won’t put the scoreline here, it was a mis-match.
The USA Basketball team is stacked up with quality, and better than their African counter-part undoubtedly, but you can’t separate SURPRISE from this game. That aside, the USA will likely edge Nigeria in the encounter.