A biography on Rena Wakama, the history-making coach who helped D’Tigress win their fourth Afrobasket title .
On Saturday, August 5, 2023, Nigeria’s D’Tigress became champions of the Women’s Afrobasket for the fourth consecutive time, however, everybody has been talking about none other than the history-making head coach of the team, Rena Wakama.
D’Tigress defeated Senegal 84-74 in the final, making Nigeria the only the second country in history to win the women’s Afrobasket title four times in a row. D’ Tigress has been unbeaten since October 2015.
It should be noted that her selection to the prestigious job of team head coach caused quite a stir as people wondered how she was going to fill the shoes left by the previous coach, Otis Hugley who led the D’Tigress to three consecutive wins and had resigned from his role in 2022.
However, her contributions to the team in such a short time have shone a bright light on her.
The Afrobasket championship has a remarkable history of female coaches in the championship, and Wakama set an enviable record for females, as head coach of a senior women’s national team and the first African woman to head a team to the Afrobasket.
— FIBA Women’s Afrobasket (@afrobasketwomen) August 5, 2023
Here are twelve things to know about this record-breaking, history-making woman.
1. Rena Wakama was born on April 11, 1992, in Raleigh, North Carolina, United States.
2. She hails from Okrika, Rivers State, Nigeria.
3. Her passion for basketball began at a young age, inspired by her late cousin, Onimisi Aiyede.
4. Wakama bagged a bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation from the University of Western Carolina (WSU) in 2014.
5. She played for ‘Catamounts’, WSU’s female basketball team, for four years.
6. She joined D’Tigress in 2015 after graduating from college accompanying the team to Cameroon for the 2015 Women’s Afrobasket competition, where Nigeria finished third.
7. She moved to Manhattan College to pursue an MBA, and it was here she knew it was time to pursue her true calling -coaching.
8. While there, she served as the director of women’s basketball operations for her first two years at the institution. She also became an assistant coach in her third year at the institution, developing talents while serving as the team’s academics and community service liaison.