D’Tigers Head Coach, Alex Nwora has invited 15 players for the last window of the 2019 FIBA Men’s World Cup qualifiers taking place in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire starting on the 18th of February, thesportsbay.com reports.
The team is dominated by players who missed out of the last phase of the qualifiers campaign hosted in Lagos.
Jekiri Tonye will likely make his debut for D’Tigers after missing out of action in the last window due to administrative reasons while Christopher Obekpa, Obinna Emegano and Efevhera Michael will also be making a return.
Ekene Ibekwe whose last appearance was at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and 34 year old Michael Umeh (2015 Afrobasket) with Italian serie A side Virtus Bologna have both been recalled to the fold.
Team captain and Sichuan Blue Whales player, Ike Diogu alongside, Stanley Okoye, Alade Aminu, Iroegbu Ike, Ike Nwamu, Ayodeji Akindele, Mbamalu Bryant, Zana Talib and Braxton Ogbueze complete the list of players invited
Nigeria will battle host- Côte d’Ivoire, Central African Republic and second placed Senegal with 16 points.
Currently ranked 33 in the world and first in Africa, the D’Tigers on a 9 match unbeaten run according to Nwora will hope to finish the campaign on a high a boost the team’s rating before the World Cup draws.
Alex Nwora said the preparation for the 2019 World Cup in China has started in earnest and it was imperative to give more quality players equal opportunity to fight for shirts.
“We were the first country in the world to qualify for the World Cup and it is very important that we start our preparation early.”
“The journey to get the team ready for the World Cup is a long one, but I am happy with the progress we have made so far.”
According to the Secretary General of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, Chimezie Asiegbu, players and Technical crew are expected to fly straight to Abidjan from the clubs for logistics reasons.
Iroegbu Ike (Science City Jena, Germany)
Michael Umeh (Twarde Pieniki, Poland)
Ike Nwamu (Wisconsin Herd, USA)
Ekene Ibekwe (Levallois Metropolitan, France)
Efevhera Michael (Homemtmen Basketball Club, Lebanon)
Stanley Okoye (Tecynconta Zaragoza, Spain)
Diogu Ike (Sichuan Blue Whales, China)
Alade Aminu (Hapoel SP Tel Aviv, Israel)
Christopher Obekpa (Al Riyadh, Lebanon)
Ayodeji Akindele (Fuerza Regia Basquetbol, Lebanon)
Jekiri Tonye (Gaziantep, Turkey)
Obinna Emegano (Rouen Basket, France)
Mabamalu Bryant (CD Vildivia, Chile)
Zana Talib (Montakit Fuenlabrada, Spain)
Braxton Ogbueze (Basquet Coruna, Spain)