July 3, 2013

India U16 Boys to compete in SABA Qualifiers in Dhaka for 3rd U16 FIBA Asia Championship

India's under-16 boys' basketball team is in Dhaka (Bangladesh) to take part in the South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) Qualifiers for the 3rd FIBA Asia U16 Championship for Men. The Qualifiers are being held from July 3-5 and four teams - India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Maldives - will take part to determine who will be representing South Asia in the U16 FIBA Asia Championship, scheduled to be held in Tehran (Iran) from September 25-October 4, 2013.

The Basketball Federation of India (BFI) has finalized a 12-men roster for this championship who are already in Dhaka along with their coaching staff, led by Head Coach Raghvendra Singh Gour. Several young up-and-coming Indian talents, including the likes of Yogesh Kaneriya and Mahipal Singh, are part of India's team.

Here is India's U16 Boys Basketball roster for the SABA Qualifiers:
  • Mahipal Singh (Rajasthan)
  • Akhilesh Kumar Tudu (Rajasthan)
  • Yogesh Kaneriya (Rajasthan)
  • Prabhnoor Singh (Punjab)
  • Rahul Mehla (Punjab)
  • Jaipal Singh (Punjab)
  • Bitto (Delhi)
  • Sunil (Delhi)
  • Mithun Das (Chhattisgarh)
  • Dhimant Sahi (Tamil Nadu)
  • Erash Hooda
  • Arjun Pandit (Delhi)
  • Coach: Raghavendra Singh Gour
  • Assistant Coach: Tirthesth Guha
  • Physiotherapist: Raj Kumar Dubey
  • FIBA Referee: Atanu Banerjee
Here is the schedule of games at the tournament:
  • July 3: India vs Maldives (6 PM) / Nepal vs Bangladesh (7:30 PM)
  • July 4: Nepal vs India (4 PM) / Bangladesh vs Maldives (5:30 PM)
  • July 5: Nepal vs Maldives (4 PM) / India vs Bangladesh (5:30 PM)
As it usually is in South Asian basketball competitions, India will start as clear favourites to go qualify for the 3rd U16 FIBA Championship for the third consecutive year.

India will have good memories of the U16 FIBA ABC. Two years ago in the previous championship at Nha Trang, a team led by behemoth talent Satnam Singh Bhamara broke out into the scene and gave some of Asia's finest squads a scare. India couldn't improve on their 10th place finish, but showed much-improved performances on court. It was Bhamara's breakout moment, as he ended up as the leading scorer of the championship and was perhaps the best defensive player in the tournament too. There seems to be no such talent on the Indian roster this time around, but hopefully the team can play well together as a unit to surprise Asia's finest once again.

But, first things first. India has to deal with Nepal, Maldives, and Bangladesh. It will be an important tune-up to get the team ready for bigger things ahead.

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