Kano Pillars guard, Eli Abraham is relishing his time with the senior men’s national team, D’Tigers. Abraham was in Mali for the African World Cup Qualifiers last weekend but didn’t make the official 12-man roster.
Abraham describes his first D’Tigers invite as a privilege that would forever last in his memory while having a telephone conversation with ACLSports on Friday.
“It’s a privilege for me to be in the national team. I was excited when I first saw my name on the list because I thought I was going to play. It was my first national team invite and I was so confident that I would be given the opportunity since I was just the only home based player called up.”
“18 players were initially called up to Mali but some couldn’t come and the list was reduced to 13 names. With only 12 players listed to play, 1 had to be dropped which unfortunately had to be me so I couldn’t play. I wasn’t bothered because there is always a next time. It was a privilege watching them in Mali and a great experience for me,” he said
The former Gombe Bulls guard also had lessons learnt from Mali.
“I realised that when it comes to African Basketball, there is a lot of aggression involved, physicality, at the same time you have to be smart and people take pride representing their country. I learnt that it’s a great honour to represent one’s country. It is not just about wearing the jersey but what you do when you wear the jersey. It’s a privilege to be selected,” he reiterated
The second leg of world cup qualifiers takes place between June 30-July 1 with Nigeria a likely host for Group B, waiting to be confirmed by the basketball world governing body, FIBA. Abraham believes it’s more advantegeous to play infront of a home crowd and expects nothing less than a win in the next FIBA window.
“Its going to be a big home advantage it was a big plus for Mali who hosted the first round of games. If you are not a good and confident player, you will be intimidated by the fans. We got all three games in Mali I see no reason why we won’t pick all three games infront of our home crowd.”
Ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games which takes place next month, the former Plateau Peaks guard is optimistic he can make the D’Tigers squad which will be hugely dominated by the home based players.
“After I returned from Mali, I joined the other home based players in training, everyone sharing their own ideas and looking forward to a good outing.
“I am confident of making the final list and also bringing a lot to the table with my experience from the world cup qualifiers. The coaches have their own part to play likewise the players. Some players have never played in the national team, while some have but it’s an advantage for me now.” said Abraham