In 2017, FIBA announced that the FIBA Asia Cup will now be held every four years instead of two. Teams will have to play qualification games from 2018-2021 to be a part of the final 16 that will participate at the championship. The main qualifying round will begin after the 2019 FIBA World Cup and will see 24 teams participating
The 24 teams that will participate in the main qualifying games will be the 16 teams that participated in the FIBA Asia Cup in 2017 (known as Division A Teams) and 8 Division B teams that are required to play pre qualifiers to qualify for the main qualifying round.
For this article, we explore the potential road map for South East Asian teams.
The Philippines automatically qualify for the main qualifying round that will begin in November 2019 by being one of the 16 Division A Teams.
Six SEABA teams, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Cambodia submitted their entries to participate in the first round of the pre qualifiers which will be held in Thailand from 26-30 June 2018. The six teams will participate in a round robin tournament where the top four move onto the next round of pre qualifying.
The four SEABA teams will then be joined by Macau (East Asia), Fiji and Guam (Oceania) who will compete against each other in the second round of pre qualifiers that will be held from September 2018 onwards. The format of the second round pre qualifiers is yet to be confirmed. Four teams from this round will successfully be a part of the eight Division B teams who will participate in the main qualifiers with the 16 Division A teams.
The 24 teams will then be split into six groups of four, where each team will play against each other in a home and away format throughout 2019 to 2020. The top two teams from each group will automatically earn their ticket to the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Championship.
The six third placed teams from each group will then play in a final qualification tournament scheduled to be held in February 2021. The top four teams from this final qualifying tournament will qualify for the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 scheduled for August 2021.
The following video also explains the qualification process
We at ASEAN Sports would like to extend our best wishes to all SEABA teams participating and hope to see more SEABA teams represented in 2021.
For more information on the pre qualifiers, check out the official FIBA basketball site.