Nigeria’s senior male basketball team, D’Tigers, have lost four places and dropping to 9th in the latest FIBA Power Rankings in Africa no thanks to their poor run of results at the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournament in Abidjan last month. Cote d’Ivoire was adjudged the best-ranked team in the continent after winning all their African Qualifiers to become the first team on the continent to qualify for next year’s World Cup even with three games to spare.
The Ivorians have reached the pinnacle of their basketball over the last decade and they are returning to the World Cup for the second straight time. Nigeria is now ranked ninth in Africa and it would be recalled that by this time in the 2019 World Cup African Qualifiers Nigeria boasted a 9-0 mark and was one of the two teams – alongside Tunisia – to have qualified for the China showdown.
However, having three different head coaches (Julius Nwosu, Alan Major, and Mfon Udofia) over the last nine games, plus a number of new players and an apparent lack of team chemistry seemed to have influenced Nigeria’s current 3-4 record.
The two losses to Angola and Cote d’Ivoire in Abidjan last week were major blows for Nigeria to deal with. Joining Cote d’Ivoire on the top echelon of the ranking are South Sudan, Egypt, Angola, and Senegal completed the top five teams in Africa.