The SKYCITY Breakers have welcomed news of today’s FIBA World Cup qualifying draw, with the Tall Blacks drawn in Asia Group A with China, Hong Kong and South Korea and have been quick to assure fans that the new FIBA qualifying windows will not impact on the club’s NBL aspirations.
It is the first time that Oceania has been included in Asia as part of the pathway to a FIBA World Cup or Olympic Games, with New Zealand (Pool A) and Australia (Pool B) included in the four pools. It also sees the qualifying format change from the traditional ‘tournament’ structure and move to a home and away schedule, with games played in FIBA approved windows.
This will see the Tall Blacks host South Korea on November 23, backed up just three days later by a game in Hong Kong on November 26. In 2018, they will travel to China on February 23 and South Korea on February 26, then close out the first round of qualifying by hosting Hong Kong on June 28 and China on July 1.
SKYCITY Breakers General Manager Dillon Boucher says it is an exciting time for the game, with the national team and Breakers players set to gain further exposure – especially at home.
“We are delighted for the Tall Blacks and for basketball generally with the announcement of the schedule and confirmation of the pools. For the first time that I am aware of the Tall Blacks will have a programme mapped out for the next three years up to and including the Tokyo Olympic Games, it really does give some certainty to everyone involved.
“Breaker Nation can also rest assured that the NBL will abide by the FIBA windows, with the upcoming season set to institute two ten-day windows for players to be released to their respective national teams. The Boomers as well as the Tall Blacks will be dipping deeply into the NBL for their playing rosters, this will ensure the integrity of the national teams and NBL are not compromised, with the welfare of players, clubs and national teams managed carefully through the process.”
Venues and exact timing of the Tall Blacks fixtures are yet to be finalized by Basketball New Zealand.
For the full BBNZ story on the Tall Blacks pathway to the FIBA World Cup 2019 CLICK HERE