The captain of the Nigeria men’s national basketball team, D’Tigers, Ike Diogu has denied insinuations that members of the 2015 Afrobasket winning side are purposely staying away from the ongoing World Cup qualifying campaign.

Diogu blamed the conflicting schedule of the FIBA international calendar for the continued absence of the players and not conflicts between the players and the Nigeria Basketball Federation.

As captain of the men’s senior national team, the Sichuan Blue Whales of China player confirmed that he has continued to maintain communication with the players; adding that the players remain patriotic.

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He said it will be unfair to compare him (who plays in China) with other players in the NBA and Europe with longer seasons.

“I talked to Stan Okoye, Olaseni Lawal, Al-Farouk and Alade Aminu, Chamberlain Oguchi. All of those guys want to be here and support us. We are one big family and there is no animosity. There is nobody who does not want to play, we all love playing for Nigeria.” D'Tigers captain assured.

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Diogu is hopeful that come September, some of the players will be around to help the team qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Lagos, Nigeria is hosting Group F which Senegal, Central Africa, Rwanda, Cote d'Ivoire and Mali between the 14th and 16th of September.

Nigeria currently lead the pack with 12 points from 6 games.

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