While the dates and location for the men’s Asia Championships are yet to be finalised by FIBA, the Sapphires will be heading to Bengaluru, India from October 22-28 at the same stadium where the Opals competed in the FIBA women’s Asia Cup.
Divided into two divisions based on their world ranking, 14 teams will compete in the women’s tournament with eight of those nations, including Australia, in Division A.
They will take on China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong and Thailand with the top four teams then advancing to the Semi-Finals.
“The three-day selection camp at the CoE was a great chance to see the squad together for the first time,” said Sapphires coach Shannon Seebohm.
“We had five on-court practice sessions as well as an internal scrimmage and got to put in the framework for our style of play we are going to build on moving through the qualifiers.”
The men cannot be sure of all their opponents yet but the likes of New Zealand, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Bahrain, Malaysia and the Philippines have qualified so far.
“All athletes demonstrated a great ability and our progression through the camp was pleasing to see,” said Crocs coach Justin Schueller.
“It was a tough selection process but we know the athletes selected will represent us well and position us for a successful campaign.”
Having led the Sapphires to the ultimate success two years ago, Seebohm now faces a new challenge with his team as they advance through Asia.
“It changes things a lot, Asia has really improved as a region,” he said.
“Japan have made huge strides, China were a top four team at the last Under-17 Worlds and then you throw New Zealand into that mix as well. It is going to be a great challenge to qualify and earn our spot at the World Championships.”
While Schueller and the Crocs are waiting for the location of the tournament to be revealed, their preparation remains normal.
“Once we know where we are going, we will get together again pre-tournament and fine-tune from where we left off at camp but in the mean-time we are in regular contact with the group.
“We have set high standards of ourselves as a playing group and staff. For us, it is the same mindset as when we qualified through Oceania, we are going there to win the tournament.”
Stay tuned to Basketball Australia for updates on the men’s competition in the coming weeks.