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NZ learn women's Asia Cup opponents

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/05/2017

New Zealand have received a generous draw for the women's Asia Cup tournament in India, where they will chase World Cup qualification.

The 38th-ranked Tall Ferns were drawn in the same pool as world No.10 China, 34th-ranked Chinese Taipei and 64th-ranked North Korea at the eight-nation tournament in July.

The other group will comprise Australia, Japan and South Korea - all ranked inside the top-15 - and the Philippines.

Four teams from the event in Bangalore will advance to next year's World Cup.

With world body FIBA having moved Australia and New Zealand into the Asia zone, New Zealand's chances of qualifying have improved.

The Tall Ferns have previously needed to beat the powerhouse Opals to qualify out of Oceania, a task which has historically proven too steep.

Coach Kennedy Kereama is optimistic about his team's chances.

"It's a new competition, with new opponents and a chance to qualify for the World Cup," he said.

"The fact that four teams from Oceania and Asia qualify for the World Cup makes it a very realistic chance for us to progress.

"It is exciting to know we will have new teams to play against with varying styles of play."

Kereama's team will enjoy a lengthy build-up programme in Asia.

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