Ahead of FIBA Asia Cup 2021 pre-qualifier in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Bhutan Basketball Federation (BBF) has placed its pre-qualifier hope on the young and reformed squad.

The national basketball team will play one of the highest levels of regional or continental competition when they open their FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Pre-qualifiers tournament on June 26 in Dhaka. 

In an attempt to form a professional and better team, Basketball Federation started with a professional selection procedure for the national squad in May last year.

Today, the squad has the maximum number of players below the age of 25. The team was finalised two weeks ago, according to the federation officials.

BBF’s international relation officer, Lhendup D Dorji, said the team was prepared for the qualifier. “We hope for the better result this time. The squad has been training for last 10 months and we are confident with the squad including young and skilled players.”

The national squad has played with the A-league clubs for last one month to gain game experience and also to gain maximum game timing. However, the official said that the weather in Bangladesh would not be favourable to the team.

The 12 men squad has been preparing for the qualifier since September last year. The squad will leave for the pre-qualifier tournament Monday.

At the opening of the pre-qualifier, Bhutan will take on the host team, Bangladesh, on June 26. The tournament will be played in a round robin format and a team has to win top two spots to advance to the next pre-qualifier round.

The national basketball team that played South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) championship in 2015 will be led by a Korean coach, Kim Ki Yong.

The championship will be one of his major continental championships with the national team in his last three years as the coach in Bhutan.

The four-day qualification tournament of the South Asia zone will play teams from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka. Two out of five teams will advance to the next round of pre-qualification and join the teams from Guam, Fiji, Palestine, and Macau. The qualification tournament ends on June 30.

Categorised as B-division team of Asia, a total of 12 teams, four from South East Asia, two from Gulf countries, two from South Asia, will compete in the second round of pre-qualifier along with already qualified four teams.

Only eight teams out of 12 national teams will qualify to play the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualification along with top 16 Asian teams.

The qualification process will include 24 teams and it will determine 16 participants for FIBA Asia Cup to be played in February 2021.