Over the past year and a half, Karnataka's capital city Bengaluru has also become the capital of Indian Basketball, as the new executive committee of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) has shifted the federation's head office down south from New Delhi. Now, once again, Bengaluru is set to play center-stage and host, as the city's famous Sri Kantaveera Stadium will host the South Asian qualifiers for the FIBA Asia Challenge Cup from July 6-8. India's senior men's basketball squad, the defending champions of these qualifiers, will set out to defend their title in a round robin league format against Nepal, Bangladesh, and Maldives.
After the round-robin tournament, the team with the best record at the end of this championship will progress from the South Asian region to the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge scheduled for 9th to 18th September in Tehran, Iran. A round robin tournament is when each team will face every other team in the tournament once, and the final standings will be based on win/loss statistics. The South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) serves as a sub-zone qualifier for the FIBA Asia Challenge.
The 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge is the second step in the qualification process for the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, which will be the first continental cup that will see participants from both Asia and Oceania. The FIBA Asia Cup (starting in 2017) was previously known as the FIBA Asia Championship and the FIBA Asia Challenge (starting in 2016) was previously known as the FIBA Stankovic / Asia Cup. These changes were decided on at the second meeting of the 2014-19 FIBA Asia Central Board which took place in New Delhi on 30th-31st January 2016.
India has won three of the last four editions of these qualifiers, with Bangladesh scoring a victory in 2013 when India did not participate.
Tentative Fixtures (Subject to Change)
- July 6: India vs. Nepal - 5 PM
- July 6: Bangladesh vs. Maldives - 6.30 PM
- July 7: Nepal vs. Bangladesh - 5 PM
- July 7: Maldives vs. India - 6:30 PM
- July 8: Maldives vs. Nepal - 4:30 PM
- July 7: India vs. Bangladesh - 6 PM
"From accommodation to the indoor playing facility, all the arrangements have been made for the players and coaches to ensure a successful conduct of the event," said Govindraj, "Additionally, entry is free because we want to encourage youngsters to come and watch the matches."
Team India for SABA Qualifying Round 2016
- Arshpreet Singh Bhullar (Punjab)
- Arjun Singh (ONGC)
- Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (ONGC)
- Amrit Pal Singh (ONGC) - Captain
- Basil Philip (Customs and Central Excise)
- Rikin Pethani (Income Tax)
- Aravind Annadurai (IOB)
- Arvind Arumugam (Vijaya Bank)
- Ravi Bhardwaj (Chandigarh)
- Akilan Pari (Income Tax)
- TJ Sahi (Punjab)
- Head Coach: Sebastian Padipurakkal Joseph
- Assistant Coach: CV Sunny