Nigeria’s men’s senior national basketball team, D’Tigers coach, Alex Nwora says he is excitedly looking forward to this weekend’s draw of the 2019 FIBA World Cup, as he believes it would be a first pointer to how far his side will go at the forthcoming global competition.
Ahead of the draw ceremony in Shenzhen, China on Saturday, March 16, Nwora noted that D’Tigers will need luck and favour from the word go, but admitted further that they will then have to prepare very well.
D’Tigers will be making their third appearance at the Basketball Mundial, after a 12 -year absence since 2006, such that Nwora is relishing the chance for him to make history at China 2019.
In Nigeria’s past World Cup appearance, D’Tigers won two group games before losing 77-78 to Germany, and Nwora’s team are again leading the African quartet of Tunisia, Senegal, Angola and Cote d’Ivoire to China.
D’Tigers are still rated high, despite two losses in the final qualification window that recently held in Cote d’Ivoire, where Nigeria fell to the hosts Cote d’Ivoire and to Senegal.
Nwora said he is proud that his team were the first to qualify, among all country’s across the world, with a nine match unbeaten run, but he also admitted they will have to be on their toes before and during the global showpiece, which will hold from August 31st to September 15th.
However, the tactician, who has also been head coach of Cape Verde and Erie Community College in Buffalo, New York, is thinking of excelling on the global scale and set higher marks for Nigeria and himself in China.
It will be another feather added to the cap of Nwora, who is married to an American, with four kids, who all play basketball, one of who, Jordan Nwora, features in the USA collegiate league with Louisville Cardinals.
During the first window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers that took place in Lagos, Nwora and Jordan became the first Nigerian due of father and son to represent the national team at the same time.
He is now looking to make more history with D’Tigers at China 2019, ahead of which he is thinking of the draw next Saturday and they try to outline strategies that would see his side end on top of all other 31 rival contestants in The Oriental Nation.
Nwora said: “This is a historic moment for me as the head coach and as a Nigerian. I am waiting to see the teams that will be drawn against us.
“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 32 teams, which have qualified for the FIBA World Cup, have the potential to win the championship, so no country can be underrated.”