Nigeria on Thursday celebrated a key victory as they overcame African counterparts Mozambique 85-51 in Serbia in an Olympic qualifier.

In a group also involving the formidable forces of USA and Serbia, the back-to-back FIBA Women’s AfroBasket stated their intentions and now have a first Olympic appearance since 2004 within sight.

There was little to separate the two teams in a back and forth first quarter before Nigeria put the clamps on their opponents, conceding just 2 points in a six-minute stretch as they established a double-digit cushion by half-time. And, the gap only went in one direction from there.

Promise Amukamara had an impact off the bench, hitting her side’s only triple of the first half, just before the buzzer, as part of a 14-point contribution, whilst rounding out her display with 5 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 assists.

An eye-watering 21 turnovers from Mozambique in the first 20 minutes hindered their cause and their eventual total hit 38 as they were forced to chase the game in the second half.

Belgrade may only be around 5700 miles away from Tokyo, but Mozambique will feel a whole lot further away now as they need a victory against either the USA or Serbia – no mean feat. Nigeria certainly can’t rest on their laurels even if they feel a huge step has been taken.

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