Nigeria will not be part of the 24 teams eligible for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Barcelona, Spain.
The Nigeria men’s basketball national team, D’Tigers missed out on a wild card slot, which according to FIBA Secretary General and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Patrick Baumann, ensures the world basketball’s body has the teams which enable it to have the best possible World Cup.
This year’s tournament has been slated for August 30 to September 14 with Brazil (#10 in FIBA Ranking Men), Finland (#39), Greece (#5) and Turkey (#7) set to complete the roster of nations in contention for the title.
Reigning Afrobasket champions Angola leads Africa’s contingent to the FIBA flagship event alongside Senegal and Egypt.
“Since 2006, 11 of the 12 teams that have been granted wild cards were always inside the top 24 of the FIBA Ranking Men,” Baumann said, after Fiba’s Central Board’s meeting on 1 February 2014. “This proves that FIBA’s Central Board is determined to make the FIBA Basketball World Cup as competitive as possible.
“Three of the recipients of the wild cards for Spain 2014 are ranked inside the top 10. Greece, fifth in the current ranking, are a powerhouse of international basketball and this is the first time they have asked for a wild card. Brazil were quarter-finalists at the 2012 London Olympics, are 10th in the world and will host the 2016 Rio Olympics. Turkey were silver medalists at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and are a regular fixture in leading international tournaments.
“The fourth, Finland, impressed at EuroBasket 2013 by beating four teams from the Top 15 in FIBA’s Ranking Men as they finished ninth in Slovenia. The Finns are enjoying massive support with their fans travelling in big numbers to their games.
“The current growth of Finnish basketball is the result of a solid long-term strategy being executed by the Finnish Basketball Association and still has a lot of potential for development.”
“All four teams have confirmed the total commitment of their best players to participate at Spain 2014.
“These picks have also been backed by the Local Organising Committee.
The board of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) had hoped Africa’s seventh-ranked team (18th in FIBA rankings) would become the first from the continent to participate at the Worlds via wild card.
Nonetheless, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Finland, France, Greece, Iran, Korea, Lithuania, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine and the USA will all participate in this year’s World Cup in Spain.
The 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup marks the last time that a system of attribution of wild cards is called into play.
Under its new system of competition and calendar which comes into effect in 2017, FIBA will ensure that the best teams qualify for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup over the course of a qualification phase taking place over 18 months.