ABUJA – Nigeria on Saturday lost its bid for the award of one of FIBA’s Four Wild Cards for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
A statement posted on the website of the Federation of the International Basketball Association (FIBA), said Brazil, Finland, Greece and Turkey were awarded the wild cards.
Nigeria is one of the 15 countries that applied for the wild cards to enable it to feature at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.
The countries that applied for the wild cards were Bosnia and Herzegovinia, Brazil, Finland, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Nigeria, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Turkey and Venezuela while China withdrew on Saturday.
It said four countries were picked from the 15 to join the 20 teams that had already qualified to make the 24 that would feature at the World Cup.
The statement said that the decision was taken in Barcelona, Spain on Feb. 1 at the meeting of FIBA’s Central Board.
“’As a result, the field is now complete for FIBA’s flagship event.’’
The 24 teams are: Angola, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Finland, France, Greece, Iran, Korea and Lithuania.
The others are; Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine and USA.
“The wild cards are made to ensure that FIBA has the teams which enable it to have the best possible FIBA Basketball World Cup.’’
The statement quoted Patrick Baumann, FIBA’s Secretary-General and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member as saying “since 2006, 11 of the 12 teams that have been granted wild cards were always inside the top 24 of the FIBA Ranking Men.
“This proves that FIBA’s Central Board is determined to make the FIBA Basketball World Cup as competitive as possible.’’
Baumann said “three of the recipients of the wild cards for Spain 2014 are ranked inside the top 10.’’
“Greece, fifth in the current ranking is a powerhouse of international basketball and this is the first time they have asked for a wild card’’.
“Brazil was a quarter-finalist at the 2012 London Olympics, 10th in the world and will host the 2016 Rio Olympics.’’
He stated that Turkey was a silver medalist at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and is a regular fixture in leading international tournaments.
“The fourth, Finland, impressed at EuroBasket 2013 by beating four teams from the Top 15 in FIBA’s Ranking Men as they finished ninth in Slovenia.
“The current growth of Finnish Basketball is the result of a solid long-term strategy being executed by the Finnish Basketball Association and still has a lot of potential for development,’’ he said.
Baumann added that all the four teams have confirmed the total commitment of their best players to participate in Spain 2014.
The statement said that four criteria in terms of sporting aspects n namely; promotional, economic, and governance aspects were also taken into consideration in the recipient of the wild card.
The FIBA Basketball World Cup will take place in Spain from Aug. 30 to Sept. 14 (NAN)