THE INDIAN MEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM'S quest for qualification for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup will not be resolved until just a couple of days before the main tournament starts.
At the first round of qualifiers, India were placed in a group with Lebanon, Bahrain and Iraq. They finished third, just one win short of top two, losing out on directly earning a place at the continental championship. Instead, they will have to play in a three-team group at the second round of qualifiers, where the top two will ultimately get a chance to play at the Asia Cup.
But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the qualifier matches had to be postponed. The Asia Cup, which was originally scheduled to take place from 3rd August to 15th August in Jakarta, Indonesia, was pushed back to 16th August.
Now, with four months to spare for the main tournament to begin, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has confirmed that the second round qualifying tournaments featuring third placed teams from the group stage will take place between 12th and 14th August in Jakarta, ending two days before the actual Asia Cup begins at the same venue.
This means the Indian team will fly to Indonesia and be a part of the Asia Cup bio bubble, but whether they'll stay on for the tournament will depend on how they perform in those initial two qualifying matches.
India's qualifier group will be joined by the third placed teams from the groups E and F. Both groups are yet to complete their matches. According to FIBA, those games will be completed at Jordan in June.