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Absence Of NBA Stars Affect D’Tigers Ranking Ahead Of AfroBasket Competition In Rwanda

D'Tigers

August 23, (THEWILL) – Ahead of the 2021 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) AfroBasket competition holding in Kigali, Rwanda from August 24 to September 5, the senior men’s national basketball team, D’Tigers, has been ranked seventh in the FIBA power rankings.

In much the same way as the basketball teams heading into the Olympics were ranked and D’Tigers went to the Summer Games in Japan as the fourth highest-ranked side, the AfroBasket power rankings differ from the FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike.

Rather, the FIBA power rankings are based on the recent performances of the 16 teams that will battle for honours in the Kigali-hosted competition. The rankings are arrived at by summing up all the winning points, tie points, schedule points and bonus points gained by a team and dividing the result by the number of games the team played.

Nigeria’s D’Tigers are still the highest ranked team in Africa according to the latest FIBA Nike rankings released early this month. However, the team sheet of with which Nigeria intends to prosecute the competition in Kigali is missing the top stars that represented the country in Tokyo.

Nigeria went to the Tokyo Olympics last month with eight NBA players and though they were unable to win any of their three group games, none of the eight is available for Kigali. This inability to get these stars into the lineup for the competition in Rwanda was responsible for the dip in the power ranking for the AfroBasket competition.

As the announcement of the final roster for Kigali by the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF) last week, the only returning player from the qualifiers was the 24-year-old Omotayo Jordan Ogundiran, Point guard for Kamza, Albania’s leading basketball team. In the three games of the qualifiers, he averaged 2.7 points.

That tells of the enormity of the task facing D’Tigers coach Mike Brown. Fresh for the experience and gains of the Olympics, the American team manager will now have to organise the players invited, as THEWILL reported, into a competitive unit that will make for the best possible outcome in Kigali.

It will be a tall order as the competition commences on Tuesday with no time to appropriately address the less than expected quality differential with the team that went to Tokyo. D’Tigers begin with their Group C ties on Wednesday, August 25, against coach Moussa Sogore’s Mali basketball team, and will meet the Morans of Kenya led by their coach Liz Mills and Les Éléphants of Cote d’Ivoire managed by Paolo Povia during the competition.

Winning their second AfroBasket since 2015 will be tough but it is expected that Brown’s coaching crew will be supported by the gifted Rivers Hoopers coach Ogoh Odaudu, who took his side to the inaugural Basketball Africa League (BAL) competition in Kigali, as well. Odaudu understands basketball on the continent and will be on hand to assist Brown go for the top prize.

In the power rankings, Tunisia, who won AfroBasket 2017, topped the ranking while Senegal was ranked second. The rest of the top five included Egypt, Angola and Ivory Coast.