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Tall Ferns head to Mexico for qualifying

Tall Ferns basketball
The Tall Ferns will face Mexico, Montenegro and Mozambique in Mexico City. PHOTO: FIBA

The New Zealand Tall Ferns now know where their journey to the 2026 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup begins.

Following Thursday's (Friday NZ Time) draw for the first-ever FIBA Women's World Cup Pre-Qualifying Tournaments in August, the Tall Ferns learned they will head to Mexico City, Mexico.

With the draw determining both group opponents and tournament locations for all 16 teams competing, New Zealand landed in Group B alongside hosts Mexico, Montenegro and Mozambique for the tournament from August 19-25.

The top-two teams from each group will qualify for the semifinals of each tournament, with the two tournament winners advancing to the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup Qualifying Tournaments in 2026, alongside 22 other countries.

In total, 16 nations will punch their tickets through the 1ualifying tournaments in 2026 and compete at the pinnacle event for women's basketball in Berlin, Germany from September 4-13, 2026.

This will be the first time that the Tall Ferns have played in Mexico, and Paul Downes, Basketball New Zealand's general manager of high performance, said it was an exciting challenge for the team as it transitions into a new era.

This will be our first FIBA tournament without head coach Guy Molloy at the helm, so we’ll look to work hard and play to our strengths to secure a ticket to the World Cup Qualifying Tournament in 2026,” said Downes.

“We know that Mexico in particular will be a challenging opponent, as they will have a passionate crowd behind them, but we have a young and talented core of athletes in our programme who are up for this challenge. They know how important this tournament is for our World Cup ambitions.”

The Tall Ferns will announce their squad of 12 for the Pre-Qualifying Tournament in the coming months.

The Tall Ferns, who will be without star guard Charlisse Leger-Walker as she recovers from a major knee injury, will also have a chance to qualify for a World Cup Qualifying Tournament at the 2025 FIBA Women's Asia Cup in Shenzhen, China from July 13-20, 2025, with the top-six finishers advancing.


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