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Alex and Jordan Nwora: A new Father-Son/Coach-Player relationship in African basketball

LAGOS (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers) - This week's third window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers isn't just a special occasion for Nigeria fans who will see their heroes play a major tournament on home soil for the first time ever, it will also mark the beginning of new era in the careers of head coach Alex Nwora and his son Jordan.

Alex and Jordan have become the latest father-son/coach-player pair to represent a national team in African basketball in recent years.

Three years ago, former Egypt Olympian Ahmed Marei coached his son Assem at FIBA AfroBasket 2015 in Tunisia, in a tournament where the Egyptians claimed a Fifth-Place finish.


 A standout shooting guard at Louisville University, 19-year-old Jordan insists he can't wait to wear the D'Tigers green-and-white uniform.

And, his performances in last week's warm-up games against Cote d'Ivoire in Abidjan, make him a significant addition to the Alex-coached Nigerian side, who will host the second-leg of Group B of the African Qualifiers from Friday, June 29 to Sunday, July 1 in Lagos.

"I am just looking forward to playing with these guys - they are all great players - playing for my dad, and winning games," said the 6ft7in (2.00m) guard who has never been coached by his father before.

“It’s really big, I never played over here, it’s really an honor to have a chance to play for my country and play for my dad. I am glad they gave the opportunity to play," he added. 

But, what does Jordan make of his new father-son relationship? 

“Growing up, I never played for him, but I trained with him at the gym every day. If it wasn’t him, I wasn’t where I am. I wouldn’t be playing at Louisville, I wouldn’t be playing here. So, I am just really grateful he has been in my life and been able to help me. Without him, I don’t even know if I would be playing basketball. I probably would be somewhere in the [United] States just relaxing."

Jordan is one of the new faces named to help the former African champions compete for a spot in the 12-team Second Round of the African Qualifiers.

Back in February, Nigeria needed to step up their game against a resilient Uganda before sealing a 102-86 win.

They meet again on Friday, for Jordan, the sky is the limit for Nigeria. 

“The [Nigeria national team] potential is unlimited. Nigeria is such a great country when it comes to talent. There are so many players that can come and play. The teams are changing a lot because there are so many players that can play [for the country]. The potential is really high.

“I don’t know much about [Mali, Uganda, and Rwanda], but I am sure we are going to do some scouting when it comes to playing these teams."

 Appointed as head coach of Nigeria national team last year, Alex Nwora shed light on his father-son/coach-player relationship.  

“It's interesting because this is the first time I am coaching him. I have trained him, but I have never coached him. This is the first time he is playing for me. And I can tell, that he knows that I am a tough guy to play for because I demand a lot out of him," Alex noted.

And, how does Alex describe Jordan as a player?

"He is a very skilled player, but this is his first time to come to Africa to play. I am happy for him to be here and playing for my country and for his own country. I hope that he helps us keep our flag flying." 

Jordan Nwora finished with a game-high 16 points in a 79-60  warm-up game win over Cote d'Ivoire   

“His skill set is so unique, he is a 6ft9in that can do it all. He can do it on the floor, he can drive to the basket, he can shoot the ball. He is a skilled player, but coming to Africa to play, it’s a blessing. I wouldn’t want to play against him because I know what he does," he concluded.