Commonwealth Games: Nigeria to face Australia, New Zealand and Canada

D’Tigers of Nigeria have been grouped alongside Australia, New Zealand and Canada in the basketball event of the XXI Commonwealth Games tagged Gold Coast 2018.

Despite being ranked number the one team in Africa and 32nd in the world, Nigeria is still the lowest ranking team in their group while the hosts Australia, who finished 4th at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, are ranked 10th in the world.

The Canadians who are set to make their debut at the Commonwealth, are ranked 25th in the world and have participated in 9 Olympic Games and won a silver medal at the 1936 Games in Berlin.

New Zealand will be taking part in their 21st Commonwealth Games, having competed at all Games since their inception in 1930.

The fixtures released by the organisers on Sunday will see D’Tigers start their campaign against New Zealand on Friday, 6th April before facing Canada, a day later. On the Monday they are set for a great battle against the hosts.

The NBBF Vice President Babatunde Ogunade described it as a ‘Group of death.’

Ogunade said the team’s performance will be hinged on the preparation for the games and the decision of the players to step up and prove a point.

He said, “We want to use it as preparation for the World cup qualifier in which case we bring in foreign based players to join their home grown counterparts for a longer period, get more practice and bonding time for the team.

“We will use the opportunity of the Commonwealth camping to prepare for the World Cup qualifiers of both windows.”

According to organisers, the top 2 teams in Group A will proceed to the semi finals stage while the bottom two teams from the group will play the top two teams from pool B in the qualifying finals with the 3rd A vs 2nd B and 4th A vs 1st B.

The order of the games will be determined during the competition.

The camping for the Nigerian team has since opened on Friday, 5th of January in Lagos.