THE Fiba Asia Cup 2021 Western Region Pre-Qualifiers tip off tomorrow at Zain Basketball Arena in Um Al Hassam.
Bahrain, Saudi Arabia (Gulf Zone), Palestine (West Asian Zone), Sri Lanka and Bangladesh (South Asian Zone) are vying for four spots in the main qualifying competition for the FIBA Asia Cup 2021.
The four teams will be joined by another four from the Eastern Region Pre-Qualifiers to complete a 24-nation line-up.
There will be two games on each day over the next week in Bahrain.
Tomorrow, Palestine and Bangladesh lock horns in the opening fixture at 5pm and it will be followed by the hosts Bahrain facing Sri Lanka at 7pm.
The following evening, Saudi take on Palestine in the early game while Bangladesh and Sri Lanka battle in the late fixture.
On Thursday, Sri Lanka and Saudi play at 5pm with Bahrain and Bangladesh facing off at 7pm.
The penultimate day of action on Friday sees Palestine face Sri Lanka and then Bahrain take on Saudi. On the last day on Saturday, Bangladesh and Saudi go head to head at 5pm and Bahrain and Palestine battle at 7pm. Bahrain qualified for this round of pre-qualifiers after sweeping the previous stage of competition made up of just Gulf teams.
The Bahrainis are coached by veteran tactician Salman Ramadhan. They recently held a training camp in Cairo in preparation for these qualifiers.
The Eastern Region Pre-Qualifiers are to be held in Bangkok in November. There will be seven teams vying for four spots, including hosts Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, Fiji and Guam.
Following both Pre-Qualifiers of the Western and Eastern Regions, the eight qualified teams join the other 16 nations that are already in the main qualification competition.
The 16 include Australia, Iran, South Korea, New Zealand, China, Lebanon, Philippines, Jordan, Japan, Syria, Iraq, Chinese Taipei, Qatar, India, Hong Kong and Kazakhstan.
The field of 24 will be divided into six groups of four nations each. After a single round-robin, the top two teams from each group will advance directly for the continental showcase, while the third-ranked squad will play in another phase.