Earlier this week, the Nigeria Basketball Federation announced the names of the 20 home based players invited to the first phase of camping ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games - tagged Gold Coast 2018 - scheduled to hold in Queensland, Australia from April 4 to 15, 2018.
The first phase of preparations is select the best of the invited home based players who will be joined by their foreign based counterpart for the second phase of preparations in February. The second phase will double as the training camp for the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers which will take place from February 20 - 26, 2018.
This is the second time that basketball competition will be held at the Commonwealth Games. The sport was first introduced during Melbourne 2006 where DTigers` finished 4th behind Australia, New Zealand and England. This year, basketball will feature 16 teams (8 men`s and 8 women`s) from 11 different participating nations.
Some participating team were invited by the Commonwealth Games Federation/FIBA and others based on their ranking on FIBA World Ranking. Nigeria`s men team will participate in the competition based on their position as one of the best commonwealth teams in the FIBA World Ranking. We are currently ranked No 1 in Africa. The women`s team is ranked 5th in Africa behind Mozambique. Mozambique will represent Africa in the women`s basketball tournament as the best commonwealth team in the FIBA World Ranking.
Nigeria is grouped along with Australia, New Zealand and Canada in Pool A and our group games are scheduled as follows:
Nigeria vs New Zealand - 6 April
Nigeria vs Canada - 7 April
Nigeria vs Australia - 9 April
After the FIBA World Cup qualifiers, the team will return to Lagos before going on their Commonwealth Games training Tour in March and then to Commonwealth Games in April.
It will be a very busy first quarter for D`Tigers.