‘No fear’ – GB vets Clark and Hesson react to World Cup Qualifiers draw
Great Britain co-captains Dan Clark and Myles Hesson are fired up to secure a place at the 2023 FIBA World Cup after discovering their qualification opponents this week.
GB were drawn in a group with powerhouses Greece, 10th in the world rankings, and Turkey (16th), as well as Belarus (51st) at the ceremony at FIBA HQ.
Despite the challenging nature of their first-round fixtures, the two veteran leaders of the national team – 42nd in the rankings – are upbeat about maintaining recent progress with Clark saying GB should go into games expecting to win.
“I think it’s a good draw,” said the experienced big man, who last week joined Manchester Giants in the BBL. “It’s exciting to be playing the powerhouses that are Greece and Turkey. I’m sure it will be a great atmosphere when we play them on the road and when we play them in the UK.
“Belarus is a bit of an unknown for us and they will be a tough test as well.”
GB earned their place in the qualifiers by securing a spot at next year’s EuroBasket Finals and Clark added: “With our recent run of form and the way we’ve come together as a group, I don’t think we should fear anyone.
“We should be up for all six games and expect to win. We hope our fans will come and support us and will us to victory.”
Forward Hesson is equally upbeat and ready for the challenge of a run of games that starts in November with a trip to Turkey.
“I’m happy with the group we’ve been drawn in,” he said. “Greece and Turkey are European powerhouses but I like our chances against all three teams.
“We have shown in the previous windows how far we have come as a nation and I think we are ready for the next challenge of vying to become the first ever Great Britain team to qualify for a FIBA World Cup.
“I’m especially excited to be playing in front of home fans again. It’s a special feeling and something we have all missed.”
The draw sees 80 teams across four regions — Africa, Americas, Asia/Oceania and Europe — with the European qualifiers featuring 32 countries. The top 12 European teams earn World Cup entry.
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The first round of qualifiers will take place across three windows – 20-30 November 2021, 21 February-1 March 2022 and 27 June-5 July 2022 before the top three teams of each group advance second round of three windows starting from August 2022.
It will be the first World Cup to be hosted by multiple nations: the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia from August 25 to September 10, 2023.
The tournament will also serve as qualification for the 2024 Olympics, where the top two teams from each of the Americas and Europe, and the top team from each of Africa, Asia and Oceania, will qualify alongside the tournament’s host France.
GB’s World Cup Qualifying first-round fixtures HERE