With the 2019 FIBA Men’s World Cup set to get underway in China on Saturday, 31 August, Nigeria’s national men’s basketball team D’Tigers say they hope to start their campaign against Russia on a winning note.
Starting with a victory against the Russians on Saturday, the team say, is essential to their plans of going as far as possible in the tournament.
Head coach Alex Nwora admitted that Russia who are ranked 10th in the latest FIBA ranking will be a very difficult nut to crack but said a victory is not impossible.
Nwora, who on Tuesday released the final 12 man roster for the World Cup said with the talent at his disposal after weeks of preparation, the team can only reach for the sky.
“It’s going to be a tough challenge for us, but we have the ability and the talent to match up their skill set. It’s going to be a good one. What we are trying to do is to make sure that we prepare and get ready for the competition.”
On his part, team captain, Ike Diogu said Russia will be a good test for the team and will afford them the opportunity of assessing where they really belong.
“I have been telling everybody, one through fifteen, we can match up with anybody in the world. We just have to execute, play hard and I think the odds will be in our favour”.
The team’s General Manager and former Nigerian international, Musa Adamu said that the team’s approach to the tournament is to take one game at a time and hopefully, qualify for the second round.
“We hope to qualify from our group and from there we go bit by bit. First we hope to win the games we are going to play one after the other.
“So, our first mission is to win our first game and then get out of our group”, Adamu said.
Nigeria play their Group B matches in Wuhan and will tackle Russia, Argentina and Korea in the group stage.