The DTigress of Nigeria earlier today were drawn in group A alongside Champions USA, African opponents Mozambique and Serbia at the draws of the FIBA Women Olympic Qualifiers in Mies, Switzerland.
The event which took place at the FIBA Headquarters is to help determine the 12 of the 16 teams battling for a place at next year’s Summer olympics basketball event in Tokyo. Four countries would host the qualifying tournaments simultaneously, producing just 12 winners including USA and Japan who already booked a place in Tokyo 2020 as World Champion from the 2016 FIBA Women Basketball World Cup and host of the Olympic games respectively.
Losing finalist at the FIBA World Cup and World no.2 in Women basketball, Australia, will battle host France, Puerto Rico and Brazil in group B. While Group C, puts up a far east Asian battle between South Korea and China, with Great Britain and Spain completing the pool. The games in the group will be hosted in the Chinese city of Foshan.
Belgium will host the last FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament in Ostende. The Belgians were the surprise of the World cup two years ago and will be looking to make the most of the home support against Japan, Canada and fellow European Sweden.
The groups without USA and Japan will produce 3 qualifiers each to Tokyo while the two other groups with the World Champions and hosts will have 2 teams joining them as already qualified teams in the tournament, making it a total 12 teams for the Olympics.
The US Women basketball team is still the team to beat at the Olympic games with 6 consecutive gold medals to their name and their last taste of defeat coming in 1992 at the Barcelona Olympics were the ended up with a Bronze medal.
The D’Tigress of Nigeria will have a chance to make it to their second ever appearance Olympic games should they qualify, after an appearance at the Athens 2004 games as African champions in the glory days of Mfon Udoka and Team manager Mactabene Amachree.
By: Hanifat Mustapha