Rena Wakama has made history by becoming the first female coach to win the Afrobasketball Tournament since it began in 1966.
Wakama, who doubles as the Director of Basketball Operations at Manhattan College in the United States of America, has broken a jinx after 57 years of male supremacy in women’s basketball in Africa.
She was also the only female coach and the youngest at the just concluded tournament in Kigali, Rwanda,
Wakama, 31, from Okrika in Rivers state, was appointed as the team’s head coach on June 30, 2023.
There were doubts about her ability to lead the team to victory when appointed, but she doused the tension during an interview with a national newspaper.
Her words at the time were:
“I know that I am more than ready; I know that I am the right one for the job. That’s pretty much what I am saying. I know I can lead this team, and I know I can make Nigeria proud.
“There are a lot of talents back home, and I want to do this not just for the players but for the coaches too. I can make a great impact on Nigerian basketball.
“I want to be a good representative, a good advertisement for those who are not so celebrated. There are good players and good coaches like coach Taye (Adeniyi) and coach Owolo (Aderemi), who gave me the opportunity with First Bank.
“I want to do well and create opportunities for them. It’s not just about me but about everybody. I want to help push people up for better basketball in Nigeria.”
With Makama leading the D’Tigress to victory, Nigeria has now won the competition four times in a row, stamping its authority as a team to reckon with in Africa.