Nigeria’s senior national male basketball team, D’Tigers, will face Russia, Argentina and South Korea at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, following the draw conducted on Saturday at Shenzhen in China.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Draw was presented by Wanda, before a crowd of 8,000 spectators at the Shenzhen Bay Arena.
The draw sets out the path for the 32 participating teams in their journey to be crowned world champions in FIBA’s flagship competition on September 15.
D’Tigers have been drawn in Group B and will play their group games in Wuhan, with familiar foes Argentina looking for now to be their biggest opponents.
In Nigeria’s first appearance at the global stage, the South Americans beat them 68-51 in their Group D game at the 1998 edition of the 16-team FIBA World Championship in Greece.
D’Tigers lost all three group matches, but finally finished 13th in the competition, which is now known as the FIBA World Cup, after winning their two classification matches.
Their classification phase semi-final game was against South Korea, now their Group B opponents in China, and they won 89-65, before going on to beat Japan.
Argentina were 98-64 winners when both sides met in Group A at the championship’s 2006 edition in Japan, where D’Tigers finished 14th or joint ninth among 24 teams.
They had finished third earlier in their group, after two wins and three losses, but a 77-78 loss to Germany in the Round of 16 ended their campaign.
Fellow west Africans Cote d’Ivoire are in Group A alongside Poland, Venezuela and hosts China, and will play their games in the Chinese capital city of Beijing.
Senegal are drawn in Group H to face Canada, Lithuania and Australia in Dongguan, while defending champions US are in Group E based in Shanghai with Turkey, Czech Republic and Japan.
Group D, which has another African country in Angola, will play in Foshan, with Serbia, Italy and the Philippines completing the group.
Tunisia are placed in Group C, along with the Republic of Ireland, Tunisia and Portugal, and will be based in Guangzhou.
Group F has Greece, New Zealand, Brazil and Montenegro amd will play in Nanjing, while the Dominican Republic, France Germany and Jordan will do battle at Shenzhen in Group G.
Global sporting icon and FIBA World Cup Ambassador Kobe Bryant, together with American best-selling singer/songwriter Jason Derulo, headlined the event.
The milestone event on the Road to China 2019 took place under the watchful eyes of FIBA President Horacio Muratore, FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis and representatives from the 32 participating national teams.
Group A – Beijing
Group B – Wuhan
Group C – Guangzhou
Republic of Ireland
Group D – Foshan
Group E – Shanghai
Group F – Nanjing
Group G – Shenzhen
Group H – Dangguan