Liz Cambage has revealed her shock plans to switch allegiance and play for Nigeria at next year’s Paris Olympics.
- Former Opals basketballer Liz Cambage has not played for Australia since 2021
- Cambage has denied allegations she called Nigerian players “monkeys” during a warm-up match before the Tokyo Games
- She has now said in a podcast interview she wants to play international basketball for Nigeria
The polarising basketball star has been all but barred from representing the Opals since an ugly incident that involved the Nigerians in a warm-up match before the Tokyo Games in 2021.
Cambage was involved in both a physical and verbal altercation with players from the African nation, which led to her being dumped from the national side before the Olympics started.
The 31-year-old allegedly called the Nigerian players “monkeys” and told them to “go back to their third-world country”. However, she has continually denied the slurs.
With a Nigerian father, Cambage is eligible to play with the team and says they have been courting her.
“Why does Nigeria want me to leave Australia and go and represent them?” Cambage told the Bleacher Report.
“We’re filing for me to leave the Australian team, so I can represent Nigeria.
“I’ve been in cahoots, I’ve been talking to them since all of this happened.
“This is what I mean, people don’t know the truth.”
Asked why her account of the scrimmage clash was different to others, Cambage said she was being used as a “scapegoat”.
“Because the truth looks a lot worse for other organisations involved than using me as a scapegoat,” said the towering centre, who has not played a professional game since walking away from the WNBA in July 2022.
“A lot of girls don’t like me … I’m very pro-black. I did not say these things to these girls.”
Veteran Nigerian women’s basketballer Promise Amukamara shut down Cambage’s claims, tweeting: “I’m sorry but this is False. Lol.”
“She called us Monkeys & told us to go back to our country,” Amukamara wrote.
“Yes she said that!
“Literally everyone from both teams have the same story BUT her, so y’all do the math!”
Cambage said she wanted to resurrect her international career for her fans and she would love to play at another Olympics.
“I really hope Australia releases me and FIBA allows it because my fans miss me playing,” she told the podcast.
“I’d love to do another Olympics. Paris would be fab.
“Rio Olympics was one of the worst times of my life and that’s a reflection of the coaching staff and the team.
“I would love to start fresh with teammates that understand me, look like me, appreciate me and respect me.”
For the switch to happen, Nigeria must request Cambage’s release through FIBA before Basketball Australia signs off.