African champions, D’Tigress arrived Nigeria with the Afro Basket title trophy after defeating Mali 70-59 on Sunday night to clinch the prestigious trophy for a record third consecutive time.
The feat means they have continued to dominate African basketball winning the 2017, 2019 and 2021 editions without dropping a game.
Nigeria had previously won the 2003 and 2005 editions in Maputo and Abuja respectively.
D’Tigress returned Monday morning aboard an ASky flight from Yaounde. Only three members of the team however returned with the coveted trophy while the others are billed to leave Yaahot Hotel, Yaounde at Monday midnight back to their clubs and schools.
Musa Murjaratu and Nkem Akaraiwe returned with one of the team’s assistant coaches, Samson Sotuminu.
The team was led back by the NBBF vice president Babs Ogunade and Col Sam Ahmedu (retd) of the NBBF and FIBA Africa.
D’Tigress captain Adaora Elonu explained why the rest of the team couldn’t return to Nigeria.
“The timing is very challenging; it was not the best time of the season for many of us and that’s why some of our players couldn’t be in camp.
“It is the start of season for clubs and schools,” Elonu said as she waited for her flight back to Russia.
The Nigeria Basketball Federation is expected to announce a reception programme for the team in conjunction with the sports ministry.