The leadership of the Nigeria Basketball Federation has affirmed that qualification for the 2021 FIBA Afrobasket Men’s tournament is non-negotiable.

This was stated on Tuesday (October 27) as countries get set for the next window of the 2021 FIBA Afrobasket qualifiers to be hosted in Rwanda and Egypt after the conclusion of the first window in February.

With the gradual return of international basketball following the disruption of the global calendar due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the NBBF has set its sight on a successful Afrobasket qualifiers campaign.

NBBF President, Engr Musa Kida said preparations have started in earnest to ensure that the 2020 Olympics bound D’Tigers qualify for its 28th Afrobasket tournament.

“We are not unaware of the huge task before us to ensure another seamless qualification for Afrobasket. We know that millions of Nigerians are expecting us to qualify without drama and that is exactly what we are working towards.”

Currently ranked 26th globally and 1st in Africa, Nigeria is grouped alongside hosts Rwanda, Mali and Algeria in Group D

Kida hammered on the need for early training and preparations to adequately get the team ready.

“(There are) no more minnows in African basketball. All the teams in our group deserve to be there and they deserve our respect. We need to prepare early and adequately to live up to pre-tournament ratings by pundits.

“We cannot afford to let our fans down. They are already looking beyond the qualification series between 27th-29th, November and 19th-21st, February 2021,” he said.

Nigeria will start the race for qualification in a meeting with Algeria on Friday November 27, before taking on the hosts the following day.

D’Tigers will then conclude their first round of the qualification campaign with a game against Mali on Sunday.

The top 3 teams in each group will qualify for the 2021 FIBA Afrobasket tournament taking place in Kigali, Rwanda between August 24 and September 5, 2021.