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Nigeria to face Australia, New Zealand, Canada


Nigeria has been grouped alongside Australia, New Zealand and Canada in the basketball event of the XXI Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast 2018.

Ranked number one in Africa and 32nd in the world, Nigeria is still the lowest ranking team in their group.

Host, Australia which finished fourth at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games is ranked 10th in the world.

Set to make their debut at the Commonwealth, Canada is ranked 25th in the world and have participated in nine Olympic games and won a silver medal at the 1936 Games in Berlin.

New Zealand will be taking part in their 21 edition, having competed at every Commonwealth Games since their inception in 1930, which has seen many people dubbing it as the ‘Group of Death’.

The fixtures released by the organisers yesterday will see D’Tigers start their campaign against New Zealand on Friday April 6, 2018 before facing Canada, a day later.

On Monday, 10th of April, it will be a great battle against the host. Reacting to the draws, Vice President of the NBBF, Babatunde Ogunade, described it as a ‘Group of death.’

The former Nigerian captain said the team’s performance would be hinged on the preparation for the games and the decision of the players to step up and prove a point.

“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 two teams in group A will proceed to the semifinals stage while the bottom two teams from group A 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 has since opened on Friday, January 5 in Lagos.

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