As teams prepare for the 2021 Afrobasket tournament which set to hold in Kigali, Rwanda, head coach of Nigeria’s senior men’s national team, Mike Brown has assured that his players will be ready on time for the competition.
With their first game against Mali on Wednesday, 25th of August.Brown admitted that the timing of the competition just immediately after the summer Olympics has proved to be challenging for players and the coaching staff.
“It is just a bad timing for FIBA Africa to have the tournament, but FIBA decides to have the Asian and African games at the same time as the Olympics and NBA players cannot participate in both because that is the rule.”
When asked why a lot of regular faces were missing on the roster, Brown said, “It’s been a long summer for the players. They came to camp on June 20th, went through the Olympics process and I am asking them to come here. It is a long summer for everybody including the coaches and on top of that, the camp right now is at the same time when a lot of training camps are happening”.
He revealed that many of the players who participated during the Afrobasket qualifiers as well as the Olympics camp wanted to play, but holding training camps with their various clubs made it extremely difficult.
Brown reckoned that if FIBA America and FIBA Europe thought it best to hold their competition next year, Africa should have adopted the same strategy so as to have the full complement of its stars around the world.
“So, it makes it difficult for us to have a competition like this. I think all competitions should happen next summer”
Assessing the four new players that arrived from Nigeria on Saturday, Brown is hopeful that they can get in shape before their first game on Wednesday.
“The new players here are really far behind in what we are trying to do and it is slowing us down a little bit but we will see when we play in a couple of days”, Brown concluded.