Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) president, Engineer Ahmed Musa-Kida has declared that it is imperative that the men’s senior national team, D’Tigers pick an automatic ticket to the 2020 Olympic Games from the FIBA World Cup in China, because the governing body cannot afford to foot the bills of participation in the qualification competition.
Kida stressed that, said considering the financial implications of prosecuting the 2020 Olympics Qualification Tournament (OQT), it is important for the team to grab the only ticket on offer for Africa from their outings at the ongoing Basketball World Cup.
He pointed out that it would be quite telling on the NBBF’s coffers to arrange camping and build-up matches for the players all over again, while also considering allowances and bonuses, which he said they logically want to avoid.
The NBBF boss, though, said it is heartwarming that D’Tigers stand a chance of qualifying direct from China 2019, haven beaten Côte d’Ivoire on Friday, but acknowledged that still have to do the same against the host nation, which would see the Nigerians emerge as the highest placed team from Africa, with better points deficit, compared to the other four from the continent.
Having finished third in Group B with three points, D’Tigers entered into the classification phase of the tournament as Africa’s top performers, but Kida admitted further that they will face many odds against the host nation, especially from an expected partisan crowd in the arena on Sunday, but he expressed confidence that they will clinch Africa’s sole automatic ticket to Tokyo 2020.
Hence the full focus now for D’Tigers is on beating China in their second classification game at Guangzhou Gymnasium, which will earn D’Tigers the highest placed in Africa, and see them grab the only automatic ticket on offer to Africa for next year’s Olympic Games.
Kida added: “Inviting players, camping them and playing the OQT will involve money which can be channeled to developing basketball back home. The boys are fully aware of what is at stake and the need to continue their winning run.”