Nigeria became one of the first teams to qualify for next year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup in China, but according to Al-Farouq Aminu, who has been instrumental to the D’Tigers’ recent run of success, they are still chasing perfection.
With three games left to play in the African Qualifiers – in the sixth and final window, in February 2019 – the Nigerians have put together a commanding 9-0 record and come next summer return to FIBA’s flagship competition for the first time since 2006.
And, the best way for Nigeria to reach their full potential in time for China 2019 is by completing the World Cup Qualifiers with the same winning mindset, Aminu revealed to FIBA.basketball.
“It’s not because we already have our spot for China 2019 that we have to give up competing for the rest of the Qualifiers,” he reasoned.
In February, Nigeria will face Cote d’Ivoire, Central African Republic (CAF) and Senegal.
“We’re going to keep working and try to reach our full potential in order to have a great run in China next year but to also keep building for the future of the national team,” he explained.
“Those games are very important. Why not trying to win the last three left? It’s important to stay in the same dynamic.”
Aminu, who, prior to his triumphant national team return last month, had last sported the Nigerian jersey in 2015, is looking forward to featuring at the China 2019 showpiece.
“We can’t wait to compete again on the world stage and compete against the best teams in the world. And we are all looking forward to it. There is still plenty of time before the start of the competition but we have that in mind and we can’t wait for it to be next summer,” said Aminu.
The 6ft 9in forward, who averaged 11.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 steals a game in Nigeria’s three wins during the September Qualifiers played on home soil in Lagos.
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