Many of these players played for her at the 2011 African Games in Maputo, Mozambique. They would have loved to have played for her in Mali (Afrobasket 2011) a few weeks after that, but she was removed (fired) right there in Maputo. Today they are loving the opportunity to play in her presence and she has become their inspiration; what a story of Nigerian basketball.
Mfon Udoka was an assistant coach for our national team in 2011; she spent the bulk of her summer preparing the team and helped the team win a bronze medal at the African Games in Maputo. There were management issues (no doubt), but for the Nigerian Basketball Federation to treat Ms.Mfon Udoka the way they did will forever be a stain on the administration. They fired her and did not allow her to be on the team to Afrobasket 2011 where FIBA Africa was to honour her and other African greats.
Today, Mfon is in Yaounde courtesy of FIBA Africa to be celebrated yet again, and her presence is doing wonders for our team. She has become their spiritual leader, a motivator and a patriot fan of these ladies; she adorns the Nigerian color t-shirts that the ladies insist on and she is loving every minute of their success.
So as the team moves into the second/knock-out rounds, I pray that the good vibes she has brought with her, give the ladies a chance for glory. She refers to herself as ‘Proud Mama’ but she easily could be Coach.
One last thing; I wonder how the lady coach of Dolphins Basketball Club (Zenith League Champion) is not on the coaching staff of the Nigeria D’Tigress in Yaounde, Cameroun. She has, in the last three seasons, proved her abilities as a coach by defeating 1st DeepWaters and First Bank, the long time champions of the league.
Image credits: fiba.com