Basketball youngsters ready for Oceania challenge

Friday August 16, 2019 Written by Published in Other Sports
Cook Islands U17 basketball team at the Auckland Airport before leaving for Noumea on Wednesday. 19081548 Cook Islands U17 basketball team at the Auckland Airport before leaving for Noumea on Wednesday. 19081548

Cook Islands basketball team is in New Caledonia, pumped for the FIBA U17 Oceania Championship.

 

The team, which mostly comprise players from New Zealand and Australia, arrived in Noumea on Wednesday.

Cook Islands U17 also include five Rarotonga-based players. They are Brander Manarangi, Nicole Tiaore, Devon Marona, Penina Arnold and Iotia Ponga.

The players attended a two-day camp in New Zealand where they had the opportunity to bond with other members of the team before flying to Noumea.

The championship which serves as the first step in the qualifying phase to the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup will have 16 teams from eight nations competing in the men’s and women’s divisions.

Apart from Cook Islands and the hosts New Caledonia, the event will also feature Australia, Guam, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and Tahiti.

The teams will be pooled together in two groups for the men's and women's respective divisions. A round-robin group phase will be followed by the knockout round.

Cook Islands will face a tough battle against New Caledonia in their opening match tomorrow before taking on Papua New Guinea on Monday and Tahiti on Tuesday next week.

The top two teams of each division will qualify to the FIBA U18 Asian Championship which will serve as the official qualifier to the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup.

Australia took a double-gold medal finish in the first iteration of the FIBA U17 Oceania Championship held at Guam in 2017.

Ligue Nouvelle Calédonie Basketball president Thierry Durand expressed his excitement for the competition.

"It's important for New Caledonia to host because it is going to be the first big event for the players and it's an opportunity for the public to watch players of other countries too," Durand told FIBA.

Rashneel Kumar

Note – Brander Manarangi was incorrectly mentioned as Brander Manavaroa in the earlier articles. Cook Islands News regrets the error.

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