Top Bahamian players expected to compete in World Cup qualifiers
The Bahamas senior men’s national basketball team begins it journey to qualify for the 2019 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup 2019, and according to Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) Vice President Mario Bowleg, the country’s top players are expected to play with the team as they look to make history.
Almost all of the teams The Bahamas will go up against during the qualifying process will feature current or former National Basketball Association (NBA) players, which is why Bowleg says it is pivotal that The Bahamas’ best players compete during the tournament.
“I am very confident as head coach of the national team that we have the tools to lead The Bahamas to the first world qualifying competition and advance to the Olympics,” said Bowleg. “The best players that we have out there in this day and time have already made the commitment that they will come home and represent the country.
“The team has been practicing for just over a few months now. We started off in the summer and we have done some intense training. We strongly believe that this is our time. We have the Chavano “Buddy” Hields and the Deandre Aytons that want to come home and represent the country.”
The Bahamas will travel to face Canada in the first round of qualification games on November 24 at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The announcement of the official team roster for the first qualifying game will be made in the coming days.
“It was not difficult to get the top guys to buy into what we are trying to do,” Bowleg added. “When they look at themselves, most of them are now in their prime, and looking at the other nations we have played and defeated without our best players, it is easy for them to understand the players that we have place us in a better position than most teams around the world. I got a promise from Buddy, that if he isn’t in the NBA finals in the summer, he’s playing for team Bahamas.
“If we get all of our guys on one floor, I can guarantee that The Bahamas will qualify for the 2020 Olympics.”
Team Bahamas will compete in the Americas region, which is widely regarded as the most competitive FIBA region in the world. The Bahamas will compete out of Group D along with the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic.