D’Tigress Aisha Mohammed Balarabe has revealed her time with the African Champions is almost over saying the FIBA Women’s Afrobasket 2019 will be her last at the biennial championship.
The former D’Tigress captain has been part of the National team since 2002 winning all three titles with the African Champions in 2003, 2005 and 2017.
Aisha Mohammed Balarabe says she wants to focus on raising a family after playing for two years.
“Two more years and I am done I have been playing since 2002. I will call it a day after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. I need to have a family my children will carry on with playing basketball.”
Aisha Mohammed Balarabe who got married early this year believes she has successfully combined marriage and basketball because of her husband’s support.
“It’s really fantastic sometimes like we have ups and downs. It is good while other times it is bad which is not easy but for the fact that my husband is a sports man like me also a basketball player we kind of work it out so it is easy for me.”
Born to a northern father, growing up in the military barracks played a huge role in breaking the barriers that could have halted Aisha Mohammed from playing basketball.
“I grew up in the barracks I am more of a barracks lady than a northerner. I was born in Ikeja, Lagos Cantonment and I left there when I was 8 years old when my dad was transferred to Keffi and from there to Birnin Kebbi then to Port Harcourt. So I am not really a northerner and my mum is from Edo State so that helped me as well. Its rare to see an Hausa girl play basketball because when they get to a certain age they have to get married so mine is different.
“Growing up in the barracks and my stubbornness saw me achieve my basketball career because my dad is an Imam and my mum was there for me and today I am here,”.
The three time Afrobasket champion wants to retire on a high by retaining the Afrobasket title like she did in 2003 and 2005 but the biggest challenge against host Senegal awaits the D’Tigress.
“We are going to go there and try to defend our title but it is not going to be easy because they are ready for us. Senegal knows we are the most dangerous amongst all the countries right now.
“We know most of the Senegalese players and we play each other in Europe. If we can play together and bring the chemistry together we will win by the grace of God.”
She commended the inclusion of players with a better height advantage to the team which was a set back at the FIBA Women’s World Cup last year in Spain.
“It’s an advantage for us and for me I was the only one doing the dirty jobs then so now I can rest, get help and return to the court. But I still think we need more big players when you check out other teams they have players that are 6’8 and so we have to look for one two more and we will be fine,” Aisha Mohammed Balarabe concluded.