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  In a historic triumph that reverberates through the annals of sports, Coach Rena Wakama has etched her name in gold as the first female coach to guide a team to victory since the inception of the AfroBasket Women’s competition in 1966. Rena Wakama went into the 2023 Afrobasket Women tournament as the only woman as a head coach. Under her adept leadership, the D’tigress, Nigeria’s revered women’s basketball team, secured their fourth consecutive AfroBasket Women title, an achievement that resonates with excellence and dominance.
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Hailing from the vibrant region of Rivers State in Nigeria’s South-South, Rena Wakama is a distinguished basketball coach and a former professional player who has dedicated her life to the sport. Presently, she holds the esteemed position of Assistant Coach at Stony Brooks University in the United States, a role through which she has honed her coaching acumen and passionately nurtured emerging talents in the realm of basketball. Wakama’s journey to this remarkable achievement has been paved with dedication and a relentless pursuit of excellence. Prior to her current role, she contributed significantly as an assistant coach at Manhattan College, where her passion and expertise left an indelible mark on the team’s progress. Notably, she served with distinction for two years as the Director of Women’s Basketball Operations, exemplifying her commitment to the sport’s growth.
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With an illustrious background as a player, Rena Wakama was a 4-year letterman at the University of Western Carolina. Her exceptional skills also led her to the courts of the United Kingdom, where she played professional basketball. Her passion for the game extended to representing the Senior Nigerian National Team, a testament to her prowess and dedication. Wakama’s academic pursuits have been equally commendable. In 2014, she earned a bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation from Western Carolina, underscoring her holistic approach to the sport and its impact on individuals. Demonstrating her commitment to continuous growth, she furthered her education by attaining an MBA from Manhattan in 2019, equipping herself with valuable insights into the strategic facets of the game.
Rena Wakama
Rena Wakama
As the torchbearer for women’s coaching in AfroBasket Women’s history, Rena Wakama stands as an inspiration to aspiring coaches and athletes around the world. Her trailblazing accomplishment not only shatters glass ceilings but also underscores the importance of dedication, perseverance, and a steadfast belief in one’s abilities.
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The legacy of Coach Wakama’s achievement extends beyond the court, symbolizing a paradigm shift in the world of sports. With each victory celebrated by the D’tigress under her guidance, a powerful statement is made about the limitless potential that resides within individuals, especially women and girls, who dare to challenge conventions and redefine what is possible. As we applaud Rena Wakama’s monumental feat, we also celebrate the empowerment of women in sports, a realm where their contributions continue to reshape narratives and inspire generations to come.
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This article was first published on 5th August 2023


I am a poet. I am a moderate thinker who abhors radicalism on every front and believes that most things are relative. I am a social and political critic. I love writing, reading and international politics.

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