Nigeria Men’s National Basketball Team, D’Tigers, who were the first in the world to qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup will know their opponents when the draw holds in Shenzhen, China on Saturday, March 16, 2019.
The team will be making their 3rd appearance after a 12 -year absence since 2006.
All eyes will be on the Alex Nwora tutored side ahead of the mundial holding between August 31st and September 15th after becoming the first country to qualify in the world for the World Cup on the back of a 9-match unbeaten streak.
Speaking ahead of the draws, Nwora said “Nothing good comes easy and I am waiting to see the teams that will be drawn against us. The 32 teams which have qualified for the World Cup have the potential to win the championship, so no country can be underrated.
“This is a historic moment for me as the head coach and as a Nigerian. Before the qualifiers started, nobody knew that we would have qualified with 4 games left to play and also as the best team in Africa. Nobody could have thought that we were going to be the first team in the world to qualify, but here we are.”
The NBBF President, Engr Musa Ahmadu Kida said “No matter who we are drawn up against, we are going to the World cup with the belief that we can surprise the world. Our girls did it in 2018 in Spain when nobody gave them the chance. This is an exciting journey that we have started to re-position Nigerian basketball. Nigerians should wait and see where we are headed.”
D’Tigers will be hopeful for a favourable draw as host- China, USA, Spain, France, Serbia, Argentina, Lithuania and Greece have all been announced by the Federation of International Basketball Associations as top seeds.
At their last World Cup appearance Nigeria won 2 of their group games before narrowly losing to Germany by 77-78 points and exiting the race for their first World Cup silverware.
Despite the 2 losses against Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal during the last window in Abidjan, Nigeria will still be leading other African teams (Tunisia, Senegal, Angola and Cote d’Ivoire) to the World Cup.