Ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China later in the year, the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF has finalised plans for an international friendly game against Canada.
The international friendly is one of many being put together by the federation for D’ Tigers as part of their preparations for the World Cup.
NBBF vice President, Babs Ogunade told Freethrow that the federation is stopping at nothing to ensure that the team gets quality grade A matches in its build up to the World Cup.
“Every team at the World Cup is going to be a tough nut to crack. Though, Nigeria emerged as the first country in the world to qualify for the World Cup in China, we’re not carried away. Our opponents in Group B, Argentina, Korea and Russia are all great teams and to be truly ready, we need to play very strong teams that will enable us compete effectively.”
He noted that Nigeria is not closing the door on any player that is interested in playing for Nigeria but hints that it would be up to the Coach Alex Nwora and his crew to determine who makes the team based on performance.
The Canadians are back at the FIBA World Cup after missing out in Spain five years ago and, in their return, have been drawn into a group with no less than Asia-Oceania powerhouse Australia, European giants Lithuania and strong African side Senegal. Despite knowing they will face some stiff competition in Dongguan, the North Americans are not complaining about it.
“I don’t think that as hard as we have worked to get to the World Cup that we will now complain about the draw,” Rowan Barrett, Canada Basketball’s men’s national team general manager, told The Canadian Press.
“Each one of (Canada’s opponents) was first in their group (in the World Cup Qualifiers) so they’ve clearly been performing well. I think it’s good that (the draw) was this far out. It gives us the opportunity to look within our depth pool as we form our team to counteract the strengths of the other teams.”