United States of America-based Nigeria senior women national team D’Tigress forward, Rashidat Sadiq, in a recent interview with Bunmi Ogunyale declared among other issues that the former African Champions will shock the world if the team is given adequate preparation ahead of major international competitions. Excerpts;
The dwindling fortunes Nigeria national teams in recent time?
To me, the dwindling fortunes can be associated to the relatively young players in the team and I believe that with a little exposure, the young ones would mature. I also believe that poor preparation ahead major championships are also a big problem for us because we don't get to prepare for any tournament well ahead of time. It's surprising that we have always got the job done in spite of constant poor preparations. But it is better to improve especially as it concern preparation, so that we can avoid embarrassment in the future.
What are your gains as a basketball player so far?
Basketball has done a lot for me. It has taken me to places where I never thought that I would ever visit when I was coming up in the game. The game gave me exposure because I was fortunate to travel overseas to play basketball professionally after my college years. Above all, the game has really enlightened me.
Your greatest moment in the national team player?
Yes, one of my greatest moments was when we played against Mozambique in the Olympic qualifiers in Maputo in 2003 and I was able to make some vital points which assisted our team to pick the Olympic ticket ahead of other teams at the Africa Championship. I believe that remained my most memorable moment in the national team.
Regrets as a player?
No, I don't have any because basketball has been good to me and nothing at all can separate me from the game. I don't have any regret playing basketball. And I don't think my friends have any too.
Your sojourn abroad?
It was really easy for me because I am a hardworking player and I have the desire to take my career to the next level. So, it was very easy for me when I got to the States. I was able to create an impression and they all knew there was a Nigerian in the Central Arizona College team. I was able to set records with the team and they still remember my exploits in the US up till this moment.
Target as a player?
I still dream of playing for a Women National Basketball Association (WNBA) team in the US and also taking my country to the World Cup.
Would you have chosen to play for another country instead of Nigeria?
In basketball, it is a win or lose situation and I don't regret playing for my country because it’s an honour to be called-up by your national team, it shows your effort is being appreciated and that you are recognize by your fatherland.
Who is Rashidat Sadiq?
Rashidat Sadiq is an easy going and hard working young lady born in Ibadan South-west Nigeria I had my high school education at Ibadan Methodist Girls (IMG), also known as Sharp Corner.
I was a former tennis and soccer player. It was at that time that the school authority constructed a basketball court and they invited other schools for a competition. So, I decided to join the school team and I enjoyed every moment of it. It was fun. So, they got a basketball coach to train us the basics of the game.
In the first week, I was able to learn few tricks and I started training with the boys. I got so acquainted with the game and I always go to train at the Adamasingba Stadium, Ibadan whenever the school is not on session. I was able to develop my work ethics to the extent that the Police team saw me practicing and they asked me to join their team. And when I told my mum about it, she was initially skeptical about me joining the Police team, but after mush persuasion she gave that was how it all started.
I then traveled with the Police team to Kano and Bauchi for a national competition where I was spotted by officials of First Bank basketball club of Lagos.
I later joined the First Bank team where I remained until I left for the UAS to further my studies and today I play professional basketball.
I would say First Bank basketball club gave me the break in my career because I won the Nigeria domestic league for a number of times and represented the country with the club winning the African title twice in 2003 and 2009
Oh! Marriage, for now, I reserve my comment about marriage, (laughs).
By: Olusegun Ikuesan & Bunmi Ogunyale