By Akinwale Kasali
When the draw for the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 was about to take place in Australia, basketball pundits and enthusiasts predicted that the reigning African Champions, D’ Tigress of Nigeria , would have a fair draw. Unfortunately, the Nigerian women were drawn alongside host nation Australia, Canada, France, Serbia and Japan in Group B.
The group was labeled as a “group of death”, with the African team aiming to come out on top of the group.
Although the D’Tigress beat France in the playoffs and are nothing new to the Europeans, they will be aiming to clear the hurdle of the other teams in the group.
The draw for the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup held on the shores of Sydney on Thursday will see the African queens currently ranked 14th in the world begin their campaign in Japan on matchday one, September 22.
Nigeria’s other matches will be against hosts Australia on September 23, then France on September 24 before facing Serbia and Canada on September 26 and 27 respectively.
FIBA’s flagship women’s competition later this year will feature in Group A the team of USA, China, Korea, China, Korea, Bosnia & Herzegovina and a country that has yet to be announced following Russia’s expulsion from all FIBA activities.
The FIBA Central Board will decide in due course which team from the Washington/Santo Domingo Qualifying Tournament will compete in the Women’s World Cup later this year.
The draw was conducted by FIBA Hall of Famer Michele Timms, joined by other Australian legends of the game, FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 Event Ambassador Lauren Jackson and former Boomer Shane Heal.
D’Tigress went through a qualifying group that included Mali, France and China with two wins against Mali and France, and one loss against China.
D’Tigress qualified for the World Cup for just the third time, with their quarter-final defeat in Spain in 2018 being their best result in the competition.
Reactions have how we have been following the FIBA World Cup draws on the possible performance of Nigerian women in the tournament.
NBBF President Engr Musa Kida has expressed his optimism that Nigerian D’Tigress will make Nigeria proud as he has been paired with France and Australia in the upcoming World Cup to be held in September of this year.
Reacting to the draw, Engr. Kida said the Nigerian girls have all the potential to become the best at the tournament, saying the Federation will spare no effort to ensure they get the best of preparations ahead of the start of the World Cup in Australia.
According to him, “we will do our best to ensure that D’Tigress has a better preparation for the tournament, the team has made the continent proud, I can assure that the next world cup will be another avenue for the team to give back. Nigerians and Africa is all the more proud of it”.