Liz Cambage's bombshell basketball switch to Nigeria rejected as 'false'

The controversial Aussie star has shocked the basketball world by declaring a switch to Nigeria is in the works.

Liz Cambage is pictured in her interview with Taylor Rooks on the left, and again on the right.
Liz Cambage has claimed a switch to the Nigerian national basketball team is in the works, and again denied that she used a racial slur against Nigerian players during a scrimmage while playing for Australia in the lead-up to the 2021 Olympics. Pictures: Taylor Rooks/X/Getty Images

Liz Cambage has re-ignited the storm that led to her ousting from the Australian Opals after declaring she is hoping to gain selection for the Nigerian national team. The 31-year-old sparked a massive outcry in the lead-up to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics after she was accused of directing a racial slur at rival players during a practice match against Nigeria in the weeks before competition began.

Cambage has long maintained she never made the remarks - despite players from both sides providing evidence to the contrary in later investigations. She also walked away from WNBA side, the Los Angeles Sparks, in 2022 and has not played a professional game since.

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In a surprising interview with US sports journalist Taylor Rooks, Cambage said she had been 'in cahoots' with Nigerian basketball officials who were keen for her to play for them, and has begun the administrative process to do so. Cambage has Nigerian heritage, making her eligible for such a switch.

How that move would go down with her prospective teammates remains to be seen however, with Nigerian play Promise Amukamara taking to Twitter to label her denial of the 2021 incident as 'false'. Australian Opals coach Sandy Brondello has already ruled out any prospect of Cambage pulling on the green and gold again.

“A lot of girls don’t like me," Cambage said. "I don’t really lean towards racially backed insults. That’s not how I go. I’m very pro-Black. I did not say these things to these girls.

"Because the truth looks a lot worse for other organisations involved, than using me as a scapegoat. Why does Nigeria want me to leave Australia and go and represent them?”

“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.”

Liz Cambage bombshell met with scepticism from Nigerian star

However the repeated denial over the racial remarks by Cambage was met with scepticism from Amukamara, who re-posted the interview to label the 31-year-old's remarks 'false'. She claimed that the only Nigerian representative Cambage had been on touch with was the team's former coach.

"I’m sorry but this is false," Amukamara wrote. "She called us Monkeys & told us to go back to our country. Yes she said that!.

"Literally everyone from both teams have the same story BUT her, so y’all do the math! The only person she has been in “cahoots” w/ was the former coach of our National team & he’s no longer the coach, so there’s that!"

Cambage's subsequent exit from the WNBA's Sparks could have, in part, been influenced by the saga, after a press conference alongside teammates and Nigerian players Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike was a clearly awkward affair. While discussing her return from a bout of Covid-19 in July last year, the pair were noticed rolling their eyes at several of Cambage's comments - a clear sign of tension between the teammates.

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