No Africans against Gilas

MANILA, Philippines — There will be no African recruits on the Indonesian team that Gilas is set to face in the FIBA Asia Cup third qualifying window at Clark on June 19 as Serbian coach Rajko Toroman said yesterday Senegal teenagers 6-4 Dame Diagne and 6-5 Serigne Modou Kane are possible options two years from now, in time for the 2023 FIBA World Cup. Toroman, taking a break in Belgrade, will fly back to Jakarta in two weeks and get ready for the Clark bubble where Indonesia will also battle South Korea on June 17 and Thailand on June 20.

Indonesia’s naturalized import Lester Prosper also took a break from training and is in Miami. Prosper will leave for Jakarta on May 27. It’s a rebuilding challenge for Indonesia as Jakarta will stage the FIBA Asia Cup on Aug. 17-29 with the goal of finishing in the top eight to book an automatic slot as co-host of the FIBA 2023 World Cup.

In 2018, Indonesian Basketball Association chairman Danny Kosasih revealed plans of recruiting 10 Africans below 16 for tryouts. FIBA rules allow each national team to enlist one naturalized import but if a foreigner is issued a passport before turning 16, he is considered a local, regardless of heritage. The selection process ended with Diagne and Kane, both 15, making the grade. They’re now playing for the Indonesian Patriots in the local league. FIBA has the authority to allow more than one foreigner on a national team but the conditions include establishing several years of residence in the country or playing lengthily in the domestic league or confirming strong family connections with the local community or claiming place of birth. Australia, for instance, was cleared to play two foreigners in the last FIBA Asia/Oceania World Cup qualifiers with American Kevin Lisch and Sudanese Thon Maker. Indonesia received a similar exception when FIBA classified Indonesian-American Brandon Jawato as a local although he received his passport at 27 and relocated to Jakarta only six years ago. Jawato, however, is recovering from injury and will not play in Clark.

Toroman said Diagne and Kane are “good but we don’t have a plan to play (them) now, maybe in two years.” He dismissed a report that Indonesia intends to naturalize 6-2 American guard Winston Grays. “He played for Pelita Jaya in the Indonesian league (in 2017) but he’s not a local player and can’t play for the national team,” said Toroman. He mentioned that Belgrade is prepared to host the Olympic Qualifying Tournament on June 29-July 4 with the Philippines joining Serbia, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Italy and Senegal in the hunt for one ticket to Tokyo.

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