FIBA’s move to bring in Oceania Nations to play in Asia is not very convincing. The competition can be lopsided at both ends – top and bottom.
A total of 16 teams in two divisions will participate and clash on the new Maple wood courts at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium in Bengaluru.
For Division A, the semi-finalists of the 2015 FIBA Asia Women’s championship i.e. Japan, China, South Korea and Chinese Taipei will be joined by the two qualifying round winners of the same tournament — North Korea and Philippines. Teams from FIBA Oceania Zone, Australia & New Zealand, have been given entry for the first in the Asian circuit.
In Division B will be the host country, India, being relegated to Level II of the previous event. Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Singapore, Uzbekistan, all of whom qualified, and the two finalists Pacific Games — Fiji, American Samoa — will join India.
If FIBA women’s rankings are taken into account, teams appear to be wide apart.
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Australia are at No 4 in the World and should be too superior.
All other nations in the fray are ranked below India.
New Zealand are ranked at No 38. Consequently, they are as good, or as bad, as Chinese Taipei and india.
If the idea of giving entry to Oceania teams is to improve standards in both regions, one wonders how that could be achieved. Oceania lists only two nations on their list – Australia and New Zealand. They could be given direct qualification to the World Cup.
By playing them here, two more Asian nations are deprived of a shot at glory.
With the exception of China, none of the other would possibly match the Australian women. Thus the competition can be lopsided at both ends – top and bottom.
It does give fans an opportunity to see the Australians in action. But then if scores are not close enough, it could make for some interesting matches.
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Somehow, FIBA’s move to bring in Australia and New Zealand to play in Asia is not very convincing and may not achieve the desired objectives.
Perhaps, Japan and South Korea could gain something as China are not very far from the Australians.
It would be prudent for the world body to reorganize the groupings so that the championship does not suffer either way in future.
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