Four Nigeria-based players make NBBF team for FIBA Africa World Cup qualifiers

Pius Ayinor

Rivers Hoopers on Tuesday sent out a congratulatory message to two of their players who have headed to Kigali, Rwanda for the African matches for the World Cup qualifiers.

The Hoopers wrote, “Congratulations to our players Owen Oriakhi and Victor Koko on your invite to the national team for the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers Window 3 in Kigali, Rwanda this weekend.”

The message reflects the breakdown of the team list as four players from the Nigerian basketball league made the final list drawn up by the Nigeria Basketball Federation.

The Nigeria Basketball Federation on Tuesday released a 12-man roster for the third window of the FIBA African World Cup qualifiers in Kigali, Rwanda holding between June 27 and July 5, 2022.

The team made up of Ikenna Ndugba (Greensboro Swarm, NBA G League), Uchenna Iroegbu (Free agent), Michael Okiki (Gombe Bulls), Ben Emelogu (Rouen Metropolitan, France), Michael Oriakhi (Rivers Hoopers), Michael Gbinijie (Santa Cruz Warriors, NBA G League) and Ibe Agu (Customs, Abuja) will be coached by Alan Major and assisted by Ogoh Odaudu.

Odaudu is the coach of Rivers Hoopers in the Nigeria Premier League.

Other players on the list are Chimezie Metu (Sacramento Kings), Victor Koko (Rivers Hoopers), Christian Mekowolu (Casademont Zaragoza, Spain), TK Edogi (Kolin, Czech Republic) and Emmanuel Omogbo (H. Izrael, Israel).

NBBF President, Engr Musa Kida told the media that Major will deputise for the team’s Head Coach, Mike Brown that just got named coach of the Sacramento Kings.

Nigeria’s D’Tigers will open their campaign against Cape Verde on Friday, July 1st before taking on Mali on Saturday. The last game will be against Uganda on Sunday, 3 July at the BK Arena in the capital city of Kigali.

Nigeria which is number one ranked team in Africa sits atop the Group A table with five points from three games.

The matches will run in this format. During this window, 16 teams will compete for the second leg of matches earlier decided in November 2021 and March 2022. The top three teams from each group will advance to the second round where each team will play six games. The two top teams in each group, along with the best third-placed team, will qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.