Assistant coach of the senior men’s basketball team, D’Tigers, Abdulrahman Mohammed is undaunted by the threat posed by hosts of this weekend’s 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers, Mali.
Both teams last met at the group stage of the 2017 FIBA Afrobasket Championship co-hosted by Tunisia and Senegal in September with Nigeria emerging victorious 90-67 points, a feat Mohammed is confident of replicating this weekend.
Nigeria take on Uganda on Friday, Rwanda on Saturday before facing Mali on Sunday.
Speaking on the strength of his opponents, he said, “Mali is the biggest threat for us. I know we are better than Uganda while I know that Rwanda are going to come up with a few tricks but we are well prepared and we just see out it goes.”
He explained that home advantage will play a major role when they face Mali on Sunday.
“I think Mali will be our biggest opposition because they are also a big basketball nation and they are playing at home and that is going to go a long way in giving them a little edge over us.”
The Coach who led Gombe Bulls to their first ever continental outing last season however ruled out any form of pressure on the team irrespective of the results recorded when they start their campaign on Friday against Uganda.
“It’s a long qualification series. It’s not as if when we lose, we are knocked out of the stage but I don’t see us losing to Mali regardless of the fact that they are playing at home. If we get our players in and we play our game, we are going to beat Mali on their home court.”
The Nigerian contingent will depart few days before the first game to team up with the foreign based players who are reporting straight to Bamako from their base.