As the Basketball World Cup dunk off in China on Saturday, retired Col. Sam Ahmedu, the President, FIBA Africa Zone 3, has urged the five African teams taking part to aim to win the title.
FIBA Zone 3 comprises Republic of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’ Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Togo and Liberia.
Nigeria is in group B of the FIBA World Cup with Argentina, Russia and Korea. Other African teams are Cote d’Ivoire, Tunisia, Senegal and Angola.
Ahmedu told newsmen in Lagos that the five teams had bright chances of doing well in World Cup.
He said the teams were good and could match others from different continents.
“Their chances are very bright because everybody at the World Cup has a good chance. However, that is not to say that we are unaware of the pedigree of the teams from Europe and the Americas.
“Africa can hold its own. Though, I cannot say they will win the World Cup. But I’m optimistic that two African teams can make it to the last eight and once they get to the last eight, it is knockout and anything can happen,’’ he said.
Ahmedu, also a member of FIBA Africa Central Board, urged the teams not to rate themselves as underdogs.
According to him, Africa has come of age and can take on any team at the World Cup.
“ No team is unbeatable and they should play their best. The African teams are also playing to get a place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,’’ he said.