D’Tigers camp officially opens on February 19 in Abidjan for the last window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
Having qualified for the World Cup holding later this year in China, Nigeria will hope to finish the qualifiers with their unbeaten record intact when they face host- Côte d’Ivoire February 22.
The team will battle Central Africa Republic on the 23rd while it will be the clash of two basketball powerhouses in Africa when Nigeria meets Senegal on the 24th.
Nigeria who became the first country in the world to book its ticket to China defeated Senegal on Sunday, 16th of September 2018 by 81-61 (27-12, 22-17, 17-18, 23-12) with Ike Diogu weighing in with 17points and 9 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Rivers Hoopers player, Buchi Nwaiwu, and Ibe Abuchi Agu of Gombe Bulls have been invited to D’Tigers National team as replacements for Ike Nwamu and Christopher Obekpa.
Nwamu and Obekpa will be absent due to club commitments and administrative reasons.
According to the Team’s General Manager, Musa Adamu, Nwamu, whose National team debut was at the 2017 FIBA Afrobasket for men in Tunisia, just got traded from Wisconsin Herd to Indiana Pacers franchise and so he needed time to settle in.
Adamu said: “Nwamu could not make it. He has just been traded from his club to Indiana Pacers, so he cannot afford to leave immediately.”
The team manager of the high flying D’Tigers who are on a nine-game unbeaten streak said the inclusion of Buchi and Ibe Abuchi was based on their outstanding performances in 2018.
Adamu said: “Buchi Nwaiwu was the Most Valuable Player of the FIBA Zone 3 club Championship in Cotonou where he helped his club (Rivers Hoopers of Port Harcourt) qualify for the maiden edition of the FIBA Afro League. He played very well and he was the most valuable player and the highest scorer.”
“Ibe too was the MVP of the invitational championship played in Kano last year and also put up a good show at the National Sports Festival. Their performances never went unnoticed.”