Argentina and Nigeria will start their campaign in the 2016 Olympic Basketball men’s competition. The South American powerhouse and their African counterparts will face each other on Sunday at Carioca Arena 1.
Argentina will look to start the tournament with a bang, as they are aiming for a podium finish this year. They will parade a roster that is a mixture of veterans and youngsters, who have been impressing fans as of late.
NBA veterans Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs and Luis Scola of the Brooklyn Nets will take the big share of the spotlight for Argentina. The Argentine are also expected to get noteworthy contributions from former NBA players Andres Nocioni and Carlos Delfino.
One of their youngsters, Patricio Garino, is optimistic of their chances in the 2016 Olympic basketball competition. The 21-year-old Garino, who plays for George Washington University in the United States, said that their preparation for the tournament went better than expected.
“We’re very happy for the preparation that we had,” Garino told FIBA. “We played against high-level competition in two different tournaments and we were successful. Our team is running a lot smoother, now.”
Meanwhile, Nigeria absorbed a huge blow to their campaign, as their national federation confirmed that NBA players Al-Farouq Aminu and Festus Ezeli of the Portland Trail Blazers will not play in Rio. According to Daily Post Nigeria, the two NBA veterans will not suit up due to insurance issues.
Aminu was actually training together with the team several days before the competition. However, the insurance issues were not solved in time for their Olympic stint to the dismay of Nigeria coach Will Voigt.
“It was certainly avoidable,” Voigt said of losing Aminu via FIBA.com. “He was with us and we were waiting for the insurance payment and obviously he got frustrated by that, which is understandable.”
Without Aminu and Ezeli, Nigeria will have a hard time dealing with Argentina and are expected to lose by at least 20 points. Fans can watch the Argentina-Nigeria Olympic basketball match through online live stream via NBC Olympics starting 9:30 p.m. ET.
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