Peter Ahmedu, Assistant Coach of Nigeria’s national women basketball team, on Saturday said the men’s national team have the ability to perform well at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
Ahmedu, while reacting to the 2019 World Cup draw held at Shenzhen in China on Saturday, said D’Tigers have a good chance to advance beyond their group with early preparation.
Nigeria has been placed in Group B alongside South Korea and basketball powerhouses Russia and Argentina.
They will be based in the city of Wuhan for the group phase of the tournament.
“As far as the World Cup is concerned, there is no group that is a walk-over. So, D’Tigers’ group is not a bad group for them.
“With the calibre of players we have, if we begin to prepare early for the tournament, it is a group we can qualify from,” he told NAN.
The assistant coach of D’Tigress also said the male team would do well if they took each game after the other, by planning for each game with good attention to details.
Ahmedu, who is also the Head Coach of First Bank Basketball Club of Lagos, said D’Tigers could emulate their female counterparts’ exploits at the 2018 Women’s World Cup.
“The D’Tigress became the first African team to qualify for the knockout stages of the women’s World Cup in Tenerife, Spain. This is achievable by the male team too,’’ he said.
Ahmedu, however, advised the technical crew of D’Tigers to work on the team’s shooting.
“Our shooting percentage was very low in the last qualifying games. We should work on this area and ensure that the team has good chemistry,” he said.
NAN reports that Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Tunisia are representing Africa alongside Nigeria at the World Cup.
Ahmedu noted that Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal are in the most difficult groups at the global event.
“But like Nigeria, the chances of other African countries at the World Cup boil down to early preparations.
“There is no cheap group, but I believe Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire are in very tight groups.
“This is because Cote d’Ivoire are grouped with hosts China, and Senegal are in the same group with Canada.
“But while no team are pushovers, I think those two African countries will have to feel the heat more to advance from their groups,” he said.
Ahmedu, however, expressed optimism that all five African representatives at the championship would give a good account of themselves.
“I am sure Africa’s representatives at the tournament will make the continent proud,” he said.
The 2019 FIBA World Cup will hold between Aug. 31 and Sept. 15, and will for the first time also serve as qualifiers for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.