Former assistant coach of the senior men’s national team, D’Tigers, Abdulrahman Mohammed said adequate preparation is key for the team to succeed at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China from August 31- September 15, 2019.
Nigeria were grouped alongside former champions Argentina, silver medallist Russia and former FIBA Asia Cup champions Korea in Group B of the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Reacting to the draws held in Shenzhen at the weekend, Mohammed described the draw as a tough one though could swing to the D’Tigers’ favour only if given adequate preparation.
“Russia and Argentina are the toughest in that group. We have not beaten them in the past it’s really a tough one while the Koreans are no push overs. All we have to do is beat Korea and get an upset against Argentina or Russia and we will still be able to come out of the group,” Mohammed told ACLSports.com in an exclusive chat.
“It’s going to be really tough considering what’s happening in the basketball circle. Preparation was nothing to write home about the last time we played in Cote d’Ivoire the players had like a day or two to practice before they played which was why we had a terrible outing.”
Mohammed continued, “Preparation here is the key more importantly we are faced with these two tough countries. We need to start preparing early and get everyone that we can get and do all we need to do to get the big players. We could add some of the players that saw us through the qualifiers and get possibly the Oladipos, the Aminus and every other good NBA player that is Nigerian. We have the players to go out there and do us proud and we will be able to come out of the group.”
The Gombe Bulls head coach warned against inviting players based on sentiments but rather based on merits.
“We can’t say we want to bring a player in because he has played for the team for a long time. I had the privilege of speaking with the team manager, Musa Adamu and he made it clear that they will bring people in that will play, no sentiments, there will be no trying to send someone off because he has played in the National team for a long time and let’s bring him in because it’s his last tournament etc. Adamu said all that will not happen when preparation starts.”
The ex-international is optimistic that the 2015 Afrobasket champions can progress to the next round. He also called on the NBBF and basketball family to support the head coach, Alex Nwora as he begins his World Cup preparation.
“Yes we can. Few years ago in the OQT (Olympic Qualifying Tournament) for the 2012 Olympics in London, nobody gave us a chance. We created upset against Greece and Lithuania and it’s going to be the same thing this time around. Probably, no one will underrate us now because of what we were able to do back then. Now there is respect for Nigeria basketball all over the world.
“We need to get coach Alex all the needed support that he can get and my friend Ogoh Odaudu to report to camp in good time to have a couple of days to drill those guys not just a day or two,” Mohammed concluded.