An intriguing and intense horizon. To read, to analyze, loaded with expectations. With the emotional charge of a runner-up in the world on his back and an Olympic experience far from the best version. Without a defined coach and with the complex task of designing strategies to face commitments, they are the best pieces. The draw that took place this Tuesday to define the groups of the qualifying windows for the 2023 World Cup, which will be played in Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia, puts the Argentine basketball team before a huge challenge.
As a first step, it is important to understand that the map of balances of powers in America is not uneven. All the countries evolved a lot in their game, in the reading of the rivals and the players all represent a threat. For this reason, to think that for Argentina the first stage can be simple, in which it will have to face Venezuela, Panama and Paraguay, for Group A, is to make a mistake.
It is true that the games will be home and away against the three selected and that the first three will qualify for the second instance. Perhaps someone understands that this scheme may be favorable, although it is not so favorable. As a first point, it must be taken into account that the national team still does not have a designated coach, since Sergio Hernández ended his relationship with the Argentine Basketball Confederation and will not continue in office. Although it is believed that the next coach could be Nestor Che Garcia, there is still no certainty about that. In any case, whatever the new driver is, it will imply a new tactical disposition and style of play, which implies a time of adaptation. Even the last Olympic experience made it clear that Argentina is a team that needs good preparation, something that did not happen before Tokyo.
The first qualifying window will be held between November 20 and 30. Then, the second will take place between February 21 and March 1, 2022, while the third will be played from June 27 to July 7. For each of these commitments, it will not be counted on the main Argentine navy. This scenario is not new, for the qualifying round for China the same setbacks were suffered.
However, for this competition, regarding the squad that was in Tokyo 2020, half of the group will not be available. Already without Luis Scola as a determining piece, it must be taken into account that Facundo Campazzo, Luca Vildoza, Gabriel Deck, Leandro Bolmaro, the NBA, will not be part of the payroll, since the United States league does not stop its competition for these FIBA dates. The same will happen with Nicolás Laprovittola, who will play in the Euroleague in Barcelona, which does not stop his action either. Francisco Caffaro, who plays at the University of Virginia, would not be available because he would not let him out for those commitments.
The only possibility of having these players would be for the last window, since on those dates there is no competition in the NBA and neither in the Euroleague. It is curious what happens to Argentina, because by having a high level in its main players it has to deal with a squad without its best version, while Venezuela and Panama, the two strongest rivals in this first step, have no Players in the most important competitions, will be able to have their best men at their disposal.
Other players who were part of the team in Tokyo would be available, although their transfers to each of the windows, those of Venezuela and Panama, will involve a large logistical movement, the expenses for the CABB will be higher and the rest before each appointment will be almost inexistent. Marcos Delía, Patricio Garino, Juan Pablo Vaulet, Nicolás Brussino, will travel from Italy, France, Greece and Spain, therefore, their participations may be selective to dose forces and possibilities within the tie. The only one on the squad that is in the local league is Tayavek Gallizi, who would have no complications for these duels.
Now, other players that could be part of the calls would also involve coordinating trips and transfers of at least 12 hours of flight. The list could have on the radar José Vildoza, who plays in Croatia, Lucio Redivo, who is in Italy, Fernando Zurbriggen and Lucas Faggiano, who are in the ACB of Spain, Fausto Ruesga, Máximo Fjellerup and Pedro Barral, who are in the Liga Leb Oro, from Spain. Even Carlos Delfino, who is in Italy, playing for Victoria Libertas Pesaro, could be part, since he said he feels good to compete.
It is possible that players like Fabián Ramírez Barrios, Mauro Cosolito, Luciano González or Nicolás Romano, men of the National League, have a space in the calls, in the same way that Franco Balbi, who is in Brazil, can be a good alternative.
The concrete thing is that it will be a long road, that Argentina will have to move an infinity of pieces to show its best version to reach the 2023 World Cup and it is not an easy undertaking. In the fourth window, the second stage of the qualifying rounds will begin, in which the first three of each group will form two more zones of six selected each and will play against the teams they did not face in the first instance. The fourth window will be played between August 22 and 30, 2022, the fifth between November 7 and 15, while they will end with the sixth between February 20 and 28, 2023.
Argentina if it passes to the second stage, which will be played between August 2022 and February 2023, with 6 more matches, it will cross against the teams of Group C (Canada, Dominican Republic, Virgin Islands and Bahamas). Of these six zones, the first three will get a direct ticket to the World Cup, just like the best fourth.
It is clear that getting one of the seven tickets from America for the big event in Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia, will be a mission in which you can not take any false steps.