Nigeria’s men’s national team, D’Tigers’ forward, Stan Okoye is optimistic about the team’s chances at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifiers. While Nigeria won’t open their race to secure one of the five tickets for African teams for the FIBA Basketball 2019 until February 2018, the 26-year-old measured up his national team’s chances against Group B opponents, Mali, Rwanda and Uganda.
The Nigerian-American, who last played for Amici Pallacanestro Udinese in Italy’s Serie A2, talked to FIBA.com.
“I saw [the draw] and I think the pool that we are in is good for us as far as seeding,” the 26-year-old noted.
“But we won’t face a real challenge until the actual elimination round which I’m not sure is the best for us, but we will succeed either way.”
As much as he looks forward to being a part of the qualifiers, Okoye says club engagements might hinder his availability but hints that since it’s a FIBA event and there will be a break, he would give it a shot in when Nigeria begin their campaign for a place in China 2019.
Two years ago, Okoye made headlines during the FIBA AfroBasket in Tunisia for breaking the backboard after attempting a dunk with such ferocity with 2:17 minutes left in a game against Uganda.
The game resumed after an hour-long period to replace the backboard.
Meanwhile, Okoye called on the Nigeria Basketball Federation to establish a better communication channel so as to carry the players along.