Nigeria have been drawn alongside Argentina, Russia and South Korea in Group B of the 2019 FIBA World Cup for men, which is set to run in China from August 31 to September 15.
The draw for the 32-team tournament was held on Saturday in Shenzhen, China, which will be one of the sites for the event.
The West African nation currently sitting 33rd in the FIBA ranking will once again face Argentina for the third time since their last two previous meetings at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
It will be Nigeria’s first ever meeting against Russia who are making a return to the world stage after missing out in 2014.
South Korea will hope to put the ghost of their 2014 World cup behind them, where they finished 23rd out of the 24 participating countries.
Speaking immediately after the draws, Musa Kida, the president of the Nigerian Basket Ball Federation, described the group as fair but tricky, pointing out that early preparation holds the key to a successful World Cup campaign.
“We are going to the World Cup as the number 1 team in Africa and the first country to qualify for the World Cup globally on the back of a 9-game unbeaten streak, so we have definitely drawn some attention,” he said.
Nigeria has already commenced preparations in earnest with head coach Alex Nwora in talks with some key players.
“In the coming days, we shall reel out our World Cup preparation plans which will also go side by side with the African Games. If we get our acts right and get the needed players we are targeting, we can achieve a result that all Nigerians will be proud of,” he added. Enditem