Nigeria’s basketball national team, D’Tigers’ captain, Ike Diogu has stated the need for the squad to play some international friendlies against European side ahead of the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
While acknowledging that the competition in China will not be a stroll in the park, Diogu is of a view that playing top teams from Europe could be a step forward in terms of preparations.
Diogu, who recorded 186 points from 12 matches with D’Tigers during the qualifiers for China 2019, admitted that Nigeria’s Group B opponents will be hard nuts to crack.
In order for the team to stand any chance against the trio of former champs, Argentina as well as two time-finalists Russia and Korea in their group, Diogu reckoned that they need adequate preparations.
He went on to task Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) to ensure they outline the best build-up programme for D’Tigers, which should include games against some of Europe’s best basketball playing nations.
Diogu emphasised: “In order to get respect worldwide, we have to play the best European teams to get the respect Africa deserves.
“All the teams are a threat. We can’t take any of them lightly because they all have the ability to beat us.
“Argentina is one of the best in the world as is Russia so we have a very tough task in front of us.
“I’ve never played in the World Cup so I’m extremely excited to be a part of this and the guys want to make sure we do something special.”