Nigeria without coach Mike Brown for Basketball World Cup qualifiers

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Nigeria head coach Mike Brown at the Olympic Games in TokyoMike Brown oversaw Nigeria's campaign at the Olympic Games in Tokyo last year

Nigeria will be without head coach Mike Brown for this week's 2023 Basketball World Cup qualifiers in Rwanda.

Brown's American assistant Alan Major is expected to lead Nigeria's 12-man roster, which includes Olympians Chimezie Metu and Michael Gbinijie, for the third window in the African qualifying campaign where they will play Mali, Uganda and Cape Verde.

D'Tigers are top of Group A on points difference after the first round of games last November, with the top three in the pool advancing to the second round of qualifying which is set to begin in August.

Five of the 12 teams which take part in the second round will be guaranteed spots at the 2023 World Cup in Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines.

Nigeria are only participating at the continental event in Rwanda, which runs from Friday until Sunday, after the country ended its self-imposed exile from the international game.

Nigeria expected to book World Cup spot

In July last year Nigeria's men's team celebrated two big wins over the United States and Argentina in the space of three days in pre-Olympic matches, becoming the first African nation to beat the USA.

However, the West Africans suffered a humiliating campaign in Tokyo, losing all three matches at the Games and finishing tenth in the 12-team table.

Nigeria are favourites to pick one of the continent's five tickets to the World Cup, which will take place from 25 August to 10 September 2023.

Struggling with a crippled domestic league following a protracted leadership crisis, several overseas-born players and a strong community of diaspora players based in the United States have been persuaded to play for Nigeria's men's and women's teams.

This has led to success at the African Basketball Championships in recent years, with the men winning in 2015 and three straight triumphs for the women's team in 2017, 2019 and 2021.

However, Nigeria will not feature at this year's Women's World Cup in Australia, as D'Tigress were replaced by Mali after the government's decision to withdraw from the global game.

Nigeria's 12-man roster

Ikenna Ndugba (Greensboro Swarm, USA), Uchenna Iroegbu (Free agent), Michael Okiki (Gombe Bulls, Nigeria), Ben Emelogu (Rouen Metropolitan, France), Michael Oriakhi (Rivers Hoopers, Nigeria), Michael Gbinijie (Santa Cruz Warriors, USA), Ibe Agu (Customs, Nigeria), Chimezie Metu (Sacramento Kings, USA), Victor Koko (Rivers Hoopers, Nigeria), Christian Mekowolu (Casademont Zaragoza, Spain), TK Edogi (Kolin, Czech Republic), Emmanuel Omogbo (H.Izrael, Israel).

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