Musa Kida, President of Nigeria Basketball Federation is optimistic that the Nigerian team, D’Tigers will do well at the FIBA World Cup holding in China.
Nigeria is drawn in Group B with Argentina, Russia and South Korea in the global tournament that will run from August 31 to September 15.
The fixture with Argentina is particularly intriguing. It will be the third time Nigeria, rated 33rd, will be facing the number six rated team in the world.
Both teams in football World Cup are familiar foes and the basketball World Cup is almost following the same trend.
They met at the last two Olympic Games in London in 2012 and Rio 2016.
South Korea the other team, is just a step over Nigeria in ranking and will be hoping to banish the ghost of their 2014 World Cup behind them where they finished 23rd among 24 teams.
The Nigerian basketball chieftain, Kida considers the draw as tricky as well as fair pointing out that early preparation holds the key to a successful World Cup campaign.
“Now that we have known the teams that we will face, we need to start preparations in earnest if we are to make an impact in China.
“We are going to the World Cup as the number 1 team in Africa and the first country to qualify for the world cup globally on the back of a 9 -game unbeaten streak, so we have definitely drawn some attention”, he said.
The NBBF has already commenced preparations in earnest with the D’Tigers’ head coach, Alex Nwora in talks with some key players ahead of the world cup.
“In the coming days, we shall reel out our World Cup preparation plans which will also go side by side with the African Games. If we get our acts right and get the needed players we are targeting, we can achieve a result that all Nigerians will be proud of”.
Present at the event were FIBA President Horacio Muratore, new FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis and representatives of the 32 participating national teams.
Nigeria was represented by D’Tigers Team Manager Musa Adamu and Lawal Razaq Dayo (Nigerian high ranking embassy staff in China)
The event which heralds the first basketball World Cup with 32 teams was held in front of 8,000 spectators at Shenzhen Bay Arena.