The senior men’s 3×3 national basketball team has been grouped alongside France, Germany and Italy in the qualification Group A for a place in the 2019 FIBA 3×3 World Cup.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the men’s team, currently ranked 76th in the world and 10th in Africa, failed to secure an automatic qualification.
This was after they fell short of qualification, even after winning the FIBA Africa Cup title in Benin Republic.
They face the 3×3 superpowers in San Juan, Puerto Rico between May 4 and May 5.
In spite of being the underdogs in the group, the team will hope to defeat the world number 25, Germany, and Italy who are ranked 17th on the global ranking table.
NAN also reports that the FIBA 3×3 Africa Cup 2017 winners will have their hands full when they come up against FIBA 3×3 World Cup 2016 bronze medalists, France.
Speaking on the draw, team captain and Rivers Hoopers basketball club new recruit, Abdul Yahaya, said he was optimistic his team stands a chance of qualifying for the World Cup.
“We learnt vital lessons during the 2018 edition in the Philippines and we hope to bring that to bear when we get to San Juan.
“Although, it is not going to be an easy task, we are not going to just fold our arms and let Germany, Italy or France have an easy ride over us,” Yahaya said in a statement released by Afolabi Oni, the Media Officer of Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF).
Group A and Group B winners will automatically qualify for the semi-finals while the second-placed and third-placed teams will play in the quarter-finals to determine the other two semi-finalists.
Winners of the semi-finals will qualify for the FIBA 3×3 World Cup 2019 holding in Amsterdam, The Netherlands between June 18 and June 23.
Losers of the semi-finals will play a final game for the final spot.