D’Tigers new invitee, Chima Moneke still can’t quite believe he is on the verge playing for Nigeria and revealed he shed tears after being named in the 2021 FIBA Afrobasket 20 man provisional list.
Moneke in an interview with NBBF media, Moneke revealed he was overcome with emotion when the Nigeria Basketball Federation first reached out to him about playing for D’Tigers and the tears came pouring when he received his maiden call up.
“It was a very emotional moment. I cried when I got the call,” the Power Forward who plays for Orléans Loiret Basket in France said.
“I called all of my friends, the people that I love, the people who care about me and they were very proud of me and most importantly my parents.
“They cried, I cried. I knew they would get emotion because representing my country is probably more important to them than being in the NBA if I ever get the chance to do that.”
He confessed that despite putting in the works, he never expected the invitation which made it more amazing.
“It was an amazing moment and I wasn’t expecting it and it made it sweeter.”
Speaking on how easy or difficult it will be to fit into the national team setup, Moneke assured that with his deep knowledge about the team as a fan, fitting in will not be difficult.
“I have plenty of knowledge about the team. I am Nigeria through and through. I was born there and raised. Both of my parents are Nigerians and all my brothers are Nigerians.
“Growing up, it was the Super Eagles but now, it is D’Tigers. I am familiar with almost all of the players. I have been watching every competition Nigeria has been in since I became serious about basketball.
“I follow the players and I know a few of them personally but I am familiar with most of their games because I am just a big basketball fan in general.”
D’Tigers are grouped alongside hosts Rwanda, Mali and Algeria which recently withdrew from the qualifiers taking place between 27 to 29 November in Kigali.