World basketball governing body FIBA has sent a congratulatory message to the Nigeria Basketball Federation for being the first African team to qualify for the 2019 FIBA Men’s World Cup in China.
D’Tigers, captained by Ike Diogu, qualified for the World Cup with two more qualifying windows to spare. They defeated Senegal, Central Africa Republic and Ivory Coast in the fourth window in Lagos in September to top Group F with maximum 18 points and book a place in China.
Tunisia are the other African team to have qualified. There are two more windows to play in the qualifiers in November and February 2019.
In a letter addressed to the NBBF president Musa Ahmadu-Kida, FIBA’s Secretary-General Patrick Baumann said the early qualification was a great achievement for the team and the country.
The letter read, “Allow me to sincerely congratulate you, your national federation and your players, on behalf also of our president, Mr.Muratore on the qualification of your national team to the FIBA Basketball World Cup which will be held in China next summer.
“As we embarked on a new era with the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers, your early successful qualification, well before the end of the qualifications is a testimony to the strength of your team and of basketball in your country.
“Your federation and its national team can be proud of having achieved this important milestone and being part of the journey to China.”
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