With the 2021 Afrobasket championship long gone and core players returning, the D’Tigers of Nigeria will battle for the FIBA World Cup tickets, when they lock-horns with Cape Verde in the group opener on Friday.
The winners of the AfroBasket 2015 arrived in Angola with an experienced squad, including members of the team that helped Nigeria claim a 10-2 record in the African Qualifiers 2019.
No doubts the inclusion of Ben Uzoh, Ike Diogu, Keith Omeorah and Jordan Ogundiran will add a massive value to this Nigerian team that will go up against Cape Verde, Mali and Uganda in Group A.
Nigeria will be going into the qualifiers with ex-player Julius Nwosu leading the team, but the only worry is whether or not they will be able to overcome their limited time of preparation and embrace coach Julius Nwosu’s mindset in such a short period of time. From a different angle, that shoudn’t be any problem as the roster comprises players that has played together for sometime now, D’Tigers look capable of a strong start to the African Qualifiers.
Nigeria’s opponent Cape Verde will be without the services of star Center Walter Tavares, but the addition of prolific guards Jeff Xavier and Shane da Rosa boost the team’s backcourt.
With the game set take place in Benguela, Pavilhão Multiusos Acácias Rubras, Cape Verde keep fond memories of playing in Benguela, the head coach of the team also hails from that zone. It was in the coastal Angolan city that the Islanders played the Group Phase of the AfroBasket 2007, paving they way for a successful campaign where they finished third, which represents Cape Verde’s biggest achievement in African basketball history.
Captain fantastic, Ike Diogu returns alongiside other big players for the national team. Here’s the full 18-man roster for Nigeria.
D’Tigers last featured in the 2019 FIBA World in China, when they sealed automatic spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. They enjoyed a 3/5 run, beating South Korea (66-108), Ivory Coast (83-66) and China (73-86).
Nigeria vs Cape Verde will be played on Friday 11:00 AM Nigerian time.