Nigeria’s Al-Farouq Aminu takes enormous pride in the knowledge that he has played a significant role in bringing a winning culture to the national team.
Al-Farouq experienced the thrill of qualifying for the Olympics in 2012 and then playing at the London Olympic Games. He also celebrated a FIBA AfroBasket 2015 title triumph. Most recently, he played for Nigeria at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China and helped his country qualify for a third straight Olympics.
“I feel really honoured (to have been a part of it),” he told FIBA.com.
“I remember one of my friends saying to me: ‘Thank you for what you did; you played for the national team in the prime of your career; some guys played when they were almost out of the league, or out of the league.’
“I’ve given quality years to the national team. I’ve also had a purpose,” Aminu said.
“My goal was obviously to win but with the situations we had, it would be tough get a medal (at the World Cup) the way we wanted to, and while that’s what we try to do every time, sometimes you have to be realistic.
“I shifted one of my main goals to wanting Nigerian basketball to be held in a good light for a longer time, to having that longevity, and I’m really proud of that. I feel like that goal is being accomplished.”
Aminu added that his Nigeria teammates could do more by bringing the top youth players into the national team programme.
“There are some other things we can do for our youth teams,” he said. “A lot of our guys played for the US youth teams, but I want them to see this as an opportunity as well, to be proud to play for the (Nigeria) national team.”