Wakama, a former D’Tigress player was appointed to become the new head coach of the Nigerian women’s team on June 29th 2023 just two weeks to the FIBA Afrobasket Championship, Rwanda 2023. As a young professional who is the first female D’Tigress head coach.
Rena Wakama who is from Rivers State, Nigeria attended Western Carolina University where she obtained a B.A.Sc in Recreational Therapy, later on in 2017 she received her masters in Business Administration from Manhattan College.
She had a brief playing career before joining the D’Tigress in 2015, right after she graduated from college. She travelled to Cameroon with D’Tigress for the 2015 Women’s Afrobasket competition, where Nigeria placed third.
Due to a missed registration deadline, according to Wakama, her name was not listed on the Nigerian national roster for that competition. Before starting her coaching career, she competed for Nigeria’s First Bank at the FIBA Africa Champions Cup for Women.
Wakama relocated to Manhattan College, where she spent her first two years as the team’s operations director for women’s basketball. In her third year at the university, she was promoted to assistant coach, where she honed her skills while acting as the team’s academic and volunteer liaison.
D’Tigress’ needed a rebuild after a difficult 2022 after being banned by the Federal Government which led to them being kicked out of the FIBA World Cup 2022 in Australia. Their coach Otis Hughley resigned and some of the key players left because of the crisis.
Shortly after Wakama was named head coach, The Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF) announced open tryouts for the women’s team in Colleges in the United States, Europe, Lagos, and Abuja. The tryouts aimed to scout new players for the team ahead of the tournament in Rwanda.
According to reports, the move was criticised by some of the established D’Tigress players, some of
Despite the absence of key players from the team, Wakama led the D’Tigress to a flawless run at the Afrobasket.
The victory earned Wakama her first historic milestone as the first female coach to lead a team to the Afrobasket final.
A few days later, she extended the achievement to become the first female coach to win the competition.