Nigeria basketball coach Ayo Bakare says injuries played a major role in D’Tigers 73-52 loss to Lithuania on Tuesday.
The Nigerian men basketball team could not sustain their brilliant start to the 2012 Olympic Games as they lost their second game.
Bakare, who spoke at the post-match conference at the Basketball Arena, said injuries, illness and technical caused Nigeria’s defeat.
“It was actually a close result as we played well and tried our best. But we have had a couple of injuries and sickness to deal with in the past two weeks, and this affected our depth,” he said.
The coach said he was unable to rotate as many players as he would have wanted during the match.
“It is not just about Ade Dagunduro, who got injured during the game, but Ekene Ibekwe is still down with sickness, just like some two or three others that cannot step onto the court.
“In addition to this, we couldn’t keep up with the Lithuanians’ pace and we committed some mistakes too,”he said.
Bakare refused to blame his team’s loss on complacency, saying that his players knew what was at stake.
“It is impossible to be complacent. Everybody is motivated about playing here at the Olympics. We are all driven to the level of knowing that this is the Olympics, the highest level of basketball.
“That we lost was not because we under-estimated our opponents. If anything, our loss was about some things going wrong,” he added.
The coach also said the match officials erred in their calls.
“The game was poorly officiated, and I must say this, even though I don’t like making comments about officiating.
“A couple of the referees took some things personal. Referees have to rise above egos and feelings. One of them in particular was too bad,” Bakare said.