Nigeria’s men’s basketball senior national team, D’Tigers’ captain, Ike Diogu has played down talks of having an easy draw as he says every team in Group B is a threat.
Following the weekend’s draw that pitted Nigeria against Russia, Argentina, and South Korea in Group B, Diogu While not giving in to Nigeria’s opponents, stated that no team will be taken for granted.
“We feel very good with our draw. In order to get respect worldwide, the road we must travel through is Europe meaning we have to play the best European teams to get the respect Africa deserves,” Diogu noted.
Diogu having competed at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, 2016 Summer Olympic Games and 2017 FIBA Afrobasket tournament, will be looking forward to making his debut for Nigeria at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.
D’Tigers’ coach, Alex Nwora had stated after the draws that only the best hands will be selected for the 2019 FIBA World Cup for men. The 2.03m (6ft8in) power forward has been a dominant force for Nigeria, scoring in double-figures in all but 2 games and is one of the most experienced players in Nwora’s team.
“All these teams are a threat. We can’t take any of them lightly because they all have the ability to beat us. Argentina is one of the best in the world as is Russia so we have a very tough task in front of us,” he said.
The Sichuan Blue Whales forward who quite literally threw his weight around as the D’ Tigers topped Group F with 10 wins in 12 games, speaking on the World Cup, said: “It’s the biggest stage for me.
I’ve never played in the World Cup so I’m extremely excited to be apart of this and the guys want to make sure we do something special that the continent has not seen.”
According to the tournament schedule released by Federation of International Basketball Associations (FIBA) on Monday, D’Tigers will start their campaign against Russia on Saturday, August 31 before taking on Argentina on September 2 in Wuhan.
Their final group game will be against South Korea on Wednesday, September 4, 2019.