By Ebenezer Bajela.
Ahead of the last window of the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup African qualifiers later this month in Alexandria and Luanda, the world basketball governing body, FIBA, has confirmed the schedule for the final and decisive Window 6 of the qualifiers, The PUNCH reports.
The 18 games, which will determine the four teams to join Ivory Coast as representatives of Africa at the World Cup in Indonesia, Japan and Philippines, will be played from February 24 to 26 in Alexandria (Egypt) and Luanda (Angola).
Last August, Ivory Coast became the first African team to qualify for the 32-nation FIBA’s flagship event, which, for the first time, will be hosted by multiple countries: Indonesia, Japan and Philippines.
Of the 16 countries that started the African qualifiers in November 2021, 12 remain in the competition, although some have bigger chances than others to secure the right to represent Africa in the 2023 World Cup.
Each team will play their last three games in as many days, making this qualifying window a do-or-die situation for teams like Nigeria, Angola, Cape Verde, Egypt, Tunisia, Senegal and South Sudan.
The teams that finish first and second in Groups E and F, plus the best third-placed team secure the five spots on offer for African countries for the World Cup.
For D’Tigers, they face a near impossible task of qualifying for the World Cup following a poor outing in Window 5 of the qualifiers.
D’Tigers recorded one win in three games, losing 78-66 to hosts Ivory Coast at the 3,500-capacity Palais des Sports Treichville and putting their qualification hopes for next year’s World Cup in a tight corner.
After managing an 89-70 victory over Guinea in their second game to bounce back from their earlier defeat to the Ivoirians, they were brought down to earth in their last game of the series, losing 70-67 to Angola.
They will, however, begin this series of qualifiers with a game against Ivory Coast in Luanda, Angola February 24, before facing Guinea at the Pavilhao Multiusos do Kilamba venue the next day.
A game against Angola will be the last of the series at the same venue February 26.