The 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup first-round qualifiers took place on Friday in Rwanda, and the D’Tigers’ interim head coach, Alan Major, has explained why Cape Verde defeated Nigeria.
The D’Tigers lost 79-70 to Cape Verde in their fourth match of the qualifiers, falling to them twice in the previous meetings.
Speaking at the press conference, Major emphasized the team’s turnover rate and rebounding efforts, which he claimed were to blame for the defeat despite praising the group for their tenacity and diligence.
“They (Cape Verde) had 16 points from our turnovers, 11 second-chance points from 16 offensive rebounds. These are some things we can clean up, but I do like the effort. We fought back and had the lead, but we gave up a big put back to Williams Tavares.
“Congratulations to Cape Verde, they played well. They got a cushion on us at halftime. I thought our guys did a great job by fighting back to take the lead towards the end of the match, but you know in a game like this, you do not have much margin for error,” Major explained.
He claimed that as the game came to a close, the team became frightened and rushed their plays in an effort to regain the lead, giving the advantage to their rivals.
“We just have to go back, watch some films, clean up some things and be ready to play again.”
Speaking further, he added:”We wanted to go out there and try to win the game. We did that for stretches of the game but Cape Verde played together. They have been together and practising more than we have.”
Meanwhile, D’Tigers’ opponent for today’s clash, Mali, failed to show up for their game against Uganda which saw the latter awarded a 20-0 win on Friday.