Assistant Coach of Nigeria’s national women basketball team, Peter Ahmedu believes that the men’s national team can emulate their female counterparts by making the quarter-finals of the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
Ahmedu was part of the backroom staff that oversaw D’Tigress record-breaking run to the quarter-finals of the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup in Spain where they became the first African team to make the knockout round and the immediate past head coach of First Bank Basketball of Lagos believes that the men’s team, D’Tigers, can achieve something similar if they begin preparations in good time for the tournament.
“With the group we find ourselves; Group B, it’s a very good group,” Ahmedu says, “and the advice I stipulate right now to the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) is to go into a closed camp early, and to be able to give all Nigerians the opportunity to get the best and I’m sure with the kind of countries in our group we should be able to pick two games and qualify for the quarter-final.”
D’Tigers head coach Alex Nwora stated recently that only the best hands will be considered for the World Cup and Ahmedu agrees with Nwora’s position but advises that rather than focus exclusively on the NBA, the net should be cast far and wide in the search for Nigeria’s best players.
He also identified the need to play preparatory matches ahead of the World Cup as being essential for readying the team for a good outing at the tournament.
“You cannot say NBA alone,” Ahmedu said in response to a question about getting eligible players from the NBA to play for D’Tigers at the World Cup.
“We have good players who play in Europe, we have good players who play in Asia so it’s the opportunity [to] create a platform, create a pool [and] bring the NBA [players], bring the players in Europe to be able to come then the coach knows what he wants and he knows his onions and he knows the kind of players that he wants so definitely with that opportunity, early preparation is the key.
“Playing friendlies is also the key so when you do that before the World Cup [which] is just by the corner. So I expect the Federation to start early preparation and list out friendly games for D’Tigers and I’m sure that just like the female did the male are going to do Nigeria proud.”
The 2019 FIBA World Cup which tips off on the 31st of August and ends on the 15th of September, 2019 will also serve as qualifiers for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
D’Tigers will be based in the Chinese city of Wuhan and will begin their campaign against Russia on August 31st before taking on Argentina on September 2nd and after which they will round off their group stage matches against South Korea on September 4th.
Angola, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Tunisia are the other representatives from Africa at the tournament.