THERE will be no automatic qualification for FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 co-host Indonesia. This, after the world basketball governing body ruled that the Southeast Asian country has to earn its spot in the global hoops spectacle.

In an announcement released on Monday, the FIBA Executive Committee said unlike its co-hosts the Philippines and Japan, which have earned direct qualification for the World Cup, Indonesia’s men’s national team needs to work their way to the tournament proper, particularly having to finish in the top eight at the FIBA Asia Cup happening next year.

The ruling deviates from the usual process of allowing the host direct entry to the tournament. Unlike the Philippines and Japan which have competed in the World Cup, the most recent last year in China, Indonesia has yet to make it to the tournament.

The FIBA Asia Cup is Asia and Oceania’s premier men’s national team competition and for the first time ever national teams need to qualify for the competition through a number of home-and-away qualifiers, which began in February this year.

Next year’s edition of the Asia Cup will take place from Aug. 17 to 29, with a total of 16 teams.

Currently, Indonesia, which incidentally is being handled by former Gilas Pilipinas coach Rajko Toroman, is struggling in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers with a 0-2 record in Group A.

Indonesia lost to the Philippines and Korea in its first two assignments before the proceedings were halted early this year because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The top two teams in the six groups in the qualifiers advance directly to the FIBA Asia Cup while the third-place teams battle it out in the second round for the remaining four spots.

In FIBA Asia Cup 2021, if Indonesia achieves the target of making the top eight, the number of qualification spots for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers will be reduced by one. If Indonesia does not achieve the target, the general rules for qualification to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 applicable to other Asia and Oceania National Federations shall apply, FIBA said.

For the first time in the competition’s history, the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 will be staged in more than one host country. The Group Phase will take place in Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines, with the Final Phase to follow in Manila.

The tournament will once again feature 32 national teams from around the world. Qualification for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 will take place from November 2021 to February 2023, with 80 national teams competing for a spot in the World Cup. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo