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Forty-one-year-old Awojobi targets comeback with Nigerian national team - May 27, 2015


POSTED BY:
OLUSEGUN IKUESAN
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When it comes to Nigeria basketball, Tunji Awojobi is a house-hold name at club level but especially with the national team as he was part of five of Nigeria's six podium appearances at AfroBasket.

Between 1995 and 2007, Awojobi represented the D'tigers, helping them to three second-places (1997, 1999 and 2003) and two third-places (1995 and 2005) in Africa's biggest basketball tournament and playing a prominent role in Nigeria's two FIBA Basketball World Cup campaigns (1998 and 2006).

After going into 'semi-retirement', the 41-year-old recently re-launched his career in Nigeria's domestic league with the Islanders basketball club.

Talking to FIBA.com, the 2.01m forward said he believes he can still play for the national team.

"With what I've seen of most of Nigeria's post players, I believe I still have something left to contribute to Nigeria, if the Nigerian Basketball Federation and the national team coaching crew can give me the opportunity and not look at my age," said the former Hapoel Jerusalem forward.

Awojobi played 31 minutes and grabbed 12 rebounds in a recent league game between the Islanders and Dodan Warriors, playing alongside AfroBasket 2013 Nigeria squad member Ben Uzoh.

"I am passionate about this game and that passion drove me back to the court," he explained.

I also want to prove a point that I can still make the national team. - Awojobi

"I have a willing management in Islanders basketball club who was ready to give me an opportunity to re-launch my career.

"I have seen the draws and without any doubt Nigeria has what it takes to win the trophy for the first time and gain qualification to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

"What the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF) should do is to give every player [an] opportunity to prove themselves at the tryout."

At AfroBasket 2015, Nigeria will play in Group A alongside host nation Tunisia, Uganda and Central Africa Republic (CAF).

FIBA.com  



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African Championships Standings
Group A
 1. Tunisia 3-0 
 2. Nigeria 2-1 
 3. C.Africa 1-2 
 4. Uganda 0-3 
Group B
 1. Senegal 3-0 
 2. Angola 2-1 
 3. Mozambique. 1-2 
 4. Morocco 0-3 
Group C
 1. Egypt 3-0 
 2. Cameroon 2-1 
 3. Mali 1-2 
 4. Gabon 0-3 
Group D
 1. Cape Verde. 3-0 
 2. Ivory Coas. 2-1 
 3. Algeria 1-2 
 4. Zimbabwe 0-3 
Stats Leaders
Points Per Game
 Gorgui DIENG
  SEN
  (211-C-90)
  Avg: 22.6
 1. Dieng, SEN22.6 
 2. Xavier, USA19.6 
 3. Matos, POR18.8 
 4. Diabate, IVO18.4 
 5. Kouguere, CGO18.0 
 6. Harath, ALG16.9 
 7. Oguchi, NGR16.6 
 8. Kourodu, MOR16.6 
 9. Mendy, SEN16.3 
 10. Zouita, MOR15.8 
Rebounds Per Game
 Gorgui DIENG
  SEN
  (211-C-90)
  Avg: 14.9
 1. Dieng, SEN14.9 
 2. Mascarenhas, CPV10.0 
 3. Lawal, NGR9.0 
 4. Chikoko, ZIM8.8 
 5. Almeida, CPV8.4 
 6. Marei, EGY8.4 
 7. Sebirumbi, USA7.8 
 8. Grebongo, CAF7.6 
 9. Aminu, NGR7.3 
 10. Ben Romdhane, TUN7.3 
Assists Per Game
 Xane DALMEIDA
  SEN
  (181-PG-83)
  Avg: 7.4
 1. Dalmeida, SEN7.4 
 2. Khalfi, MOR6.0 
 3. Diabate, IVO5.8 
 4. Almeida, CPV4.4 
 5. Xavier, USA4.0 
 6. Matos, MOZ3.8 
 7. Dieng, SEN3.7 
 8. Benzegala, USA3.7 
 9. Kamal, EGY3.4 
 10. Kante, MLI3.3 
Steals Per Game
 Destin DAMACHOUA
  CAF
  (185-G-86)
  Avg: 3.6
 1. Damachoua, CAF3.6 
 2. Essono Mve, GAB3.0 
 3. Diabate, IVO2.8 
 4. Matos, MOZ2.8 
 5. Almeida, CPV2.8 
 6. Amin, EGY2.4 
 7. Akanda-C., CAN2.4 
 8. Boundou, GAB2.0 
 9. Maturure, ZIM2.0 
 10. Harras, MOR2.0 
Blocks Per Game
 Vitalis CHIKOKO
  ZIM
  (207-F/C-91)
  Avg: 3.2
 1. Chikoko, ZIM3.2 
 2. Mejri, TUN2.5 
 3. Lasme, GAB1.8 
 4. Dieng, SEN1.3 
 5. Aminu, NGR1.3 
 6. Moreira, ANG1.3 
 7. Oraby, EGY1.3 
 8. Almeida, CPV1.2 
 9. Sene, SEN1.2 
 10. Mascarenhas, CPV1.2 
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