Alex Nwora, D’Tigers coach.
D’Tigers head coach, Alex Nwora has invited 12 players for the next round of the FIBA Men’s World cup qualifiers to be hosted in Lagos between September 14 and 16.
The 12-man team expected to report to camp on September 6 will be headlined by Portland Trail Blazers’ Al-Farouq Aminu, who last featured for Nigeria in 2015 when the team played in the FIBA Afrobasket.
Team Captain, Ike Diogu, who recently inked a contract with Bayaman Vasqueros in Puerto Rico, will return with a bang alongside Benjamin Uzoh, Ikenna Iroegbu, Mbamalu Bryant and Ikechukwu Nwamu.
Others, who will also return to the star studded team include Stanley Okoye, who last featured for the team in 2015 and the duo of Aminu Alade and Ekenechukwu Ibekwe, who were part of the Rio 2016 Olympic adventure.
Benue State-born Christopher Obekpa, who plays with Al Riyadi of Lebanon, is making a return to the national team, while France-based Emenago Obinna Clinton and Akndele Ayodeji will be featuring again in the team that has been tagged “Killer Squad” by many.
Speaking on the decision to invite just 12 players for the qualifiers, Nwora said, “There is no time to have too many players in camp as some of the players will be arriving a few days to the competition based on the time of their release by their clubs.”
He said he would have preferred to have more players fight for shirts in camp, but because of the peculiarity of the international window, those invited will only have few days to train before their first game against Cote d’Ivoire.
In a statement, the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) said it was confident that the players invited based on their current form and pedigree would do the nation proud in its quest to qualify for the 2019 World Cup in China.
Currently topping group F with 12 points from six games ahead of closest rival, Senegal with 11 points, D’Tigers will hope to make the home advantage count when they face Central Africa Republic, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal during the fourth window of the qualifiers.
Winning all their three games at home will ensure an automatic qualification for the team with three matches left to play.