Reigning African champions Nigeria will face world number one the U.S., Serbia and Mozambique in the battle for a spot at the women basketball event of the 2020 Olympic Games.
Afolabi Oni, the Media Officer of Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), said in a statement on Wednesday that the pairing emerged from the draw held in Switzerland some hours earlier.
The draw officially kicked off the Olympics Tournament qualification race.
The Nigerian side, D’Tigress, will therefore play in Belgrade after being drawn in Group A.
Reacting to the draw, the NBBF President, Musa Kida, said qualification for the 2020 Olympics was possible in spite of admitting that it was a difficult draw.
”Being drawn against world number one U.S and number seven Serbia surely will not make the job easy but I am optimistic that qualification for the Olympics is possible.
“The men have already qualified and all eyes are on our women to also join their counterparts in Tokyo.
”D’Tigress are the reigning African champions and we hope this will count for something when they start the qualifiers,” Kida said.
He added that there was the need for early preparation for the team if they are to stand a chance in the group.
“We know that playing in a tournament of this magnitude costs money, time and proper planning.
”We are going to be working with the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to ensure that we return to the Olympic Games,” Kida said.
The last time Nigeria met the U.S. was at the quarter-finals of the FIBA Women’s World Cup in Spain where the D’Tigress lost 41-70 points.
The American side later went on to win the trophy.
D’Tigress last qualification for the Olympics was in 2004.
The Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT is to be played between Feb. 6 and Feb. 9 across four countries, namely China, Serbia, France and Belgium.