Rwanda gets tough draw for FIBA World Cup 2019 Qualifiers

Rwanda has been handed a tough draw for FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African qualifiers that are scheduled to start from November 20, 2017 and end February 19, 2019.
Rwanda has faced Mali before but at the youth level during the FIBA-Africa U-20 Championships held in Kigali last year. File
Rwanda has faced Mali before but at the youth level during the FIBA-Africa U-20 Championships held in Kigali last year. File

Rwanda has been handed a tough draw for FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African qualifiers that are scheduled to start from November 20, 2017 and end February 19, 2019.

The official draw ceremony of the qualifiers took place at a star-studded event in Guangzhou, China on Sunday evening.

 

The ceremony consisted of four different draws, one for each region - Africa, Americas, Asia (which includes Oceania) and Europe with a total of 80 national teams from across the world expected to participate in these qualifiers.

 

This is a new format that has been initiated by FIBA for the qualifying process for both the World Cup and Olympics.

 

The 16 African teams to compete at these qualifiers are the 16 teams to compete at this year’s 29th edition of FIBA Afro Basket, which is scheduled for August 19-30 in Luanda, Angola.

Rwanda, who will compete at this biennial event on a wild card, has been given a daunting test in their bid to qualify for their first ever FIBA World Cup event slated for August 31 to September 15, 2019. It will be staged on eight Chinese cities.

The 15 African teams have been drawn in four groups of four with Moise Mutokambali’s side in Group B along with reigning African champions Nigeria, archrivals Uganda and Mali.

Republic of Congo, which was supposed to host this year’s Afro Basket, withdrew from hosting the event citing logistical issues hence FIBA Africa board gave the hosting rights to Angola and now an additional country will be invited to replace Congo—that country will be in Group D.

In the first round that will be played from November 20, 2017 to June 25, 2018, the games will be played over a three-window period on a home and away basis with the top three teams from each group qualifying to the second round that will compose 12 teams.

The 12 teams will then be drawn in two groups of six that will also play each other on a home and away basis over another three-window period that will start from September 3, 2018 to February 18, 2019.

The top two teams from each group will then qualify for FIBA World Cup 2019 with along with the best loser to complete the five slots for Africa.

The seven other teams that missed out on qualifying for FIBA World Cup 2019 will then take part in a new 16-team competition called the FIBA-Afrocan to be played in the summer of 2019.

In their group, Rwanda will host Mali, travel away to Nigeria and then take on Uganda in Kampala. For the return leg, Rwanda will travel away to Mali, before hosting Nigeria and Uganda in that order.

United States of America are the reigning world champions. They defeated Serbia during the 2014 edition 129-92 in the final to claim their fifth title in Madrid, Spain.

African Qualifiers:                                                                                  

Group A: Guinea, South Africa, Cameroon, Tunisia

Group B: Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Mali

Group C: DR Congo, Angola, Morocco, Egypt

Group D: Senegal, Mozambique, Ivory Coast, TBA

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