The primary spherical of matches performed in Egypt and Rwanda has concluded on Sunday, with the ultimate video games scheduled for February 2021.
Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia ended their FIBA AfroBasket 2021 first spherical marketing campaign with an ideal report in Kigali, Rwanda.
Hosts Egypt additionally stayed prime of their group after their ultimate match on Sunday at dwelling in Alexandria.
Nigeria, the primary African workforce to qualify for Tokyo 2020 from the 2019 World Championships, put in a valiant show in all their three video games, scoring one of many highest variety of sport factors from all of the 5 teams of qualifiers.
Different notable performers from the primary spherical of qualifiers have been South Sudan and East African neighbours Kenya and Uganda.
Standout performers, Nigeria
Underneath their new coach Michael Brown, 2017 AfroBasket runners-up Nigeria have been in elegant kind all through the event and have been relentless within the ultimate qualifying sport towards Mali.
The all West-African conflict had Mali confidently seeking to shut within the hole as they trailed 61-51 going into the final quarter.
Mali got here out on the offensive however the brand new look Nigerian workforce comprising younger and a few seasoned gamers led by the captain Ike Diogu ensured they end the qualifiers 3-0.
A game-high 17 factors from former Los Angeles Clipper level guard Ike Iroegbu ensured Nigeria roll previous Mali 91-68.
Nigeria started their qualifiers marketing campaign with a 76-56 win over South Sudan, whereas Iroegbu’s 18 factors highlighted their 83-62 win over hosts Rwanda.
The dominant show excited coach Brown as he prepares to information the workforce on the Tokyo Olympics.
“We haven’t been collectively lengthy, so we are able to enhance in plenty of completely different areas,” mentioned Brown, an affiliate head coach for the Golden State Warriors.
“These guys are extraordinarily gifted, they’re very good and are hungry, they wish to play the best approach they usually wish to play proper. And as soon as we get near our ceiling, I really feel dangerous for the others.” – Nigerian coach Michael Brown.
Defending champions Tunisia shine all-through
Defending AfroBasket champions Tunisia confirmed their intent to retain the title with a tournament-ending 80-63 win over the Central Africa Republic on Sunday.
“Our workforce is made up of young and old gamers and we would have liked to seek out the best ambiance for the workforce. We obtained higher sport by sport, transferring the ball higher and speaking higher as a workforce,” mentioned Tunisian participant Mourad El Mabrouk, the 2012 Olympian, who contributed with 15 factors within the final sport in Kigali.
Tunisia, who alongside Senegal need to e-book their tickets to the Tokyo Video games subsequent yr, additionally edged out Democratic Republic of Congo 61-50, after opening their marketing campaign with an 89-52 victory over Madagascar, who completed backside of Group A.
Excellent begin for brand spanking new coach Senegalese coach Ndong
Regardless of lacking most of their prime gamers, who did not journey on account of restrictions arising from the pandemic, Group B leaders Senegal managed to safe shut victories towards Portuguese sides Angola (66-51) and Mozambique (60-53).
The youthful Senegalese workforce beneath the steerage of Boniface Ndong, who made his teaching debut of their first sport towards Kenya, secured a morale-boosting 92-54 within the opener.
Antwerp Giants’ Ibrahima Faye, 23, who made his debut for Senegal on the 2019 World Cup, netted a game-high 19 factors.
Ndong was delighted by his successful begin as coach on the Afrobasket Qualifiers.
“All people again dwelling is aware of that we now have not gained the AfroBasket in 23 years now. I would like that to be within the minds of the gamers.” – Senegal coach Boniface Ndong.
“They’ve to understand all the pieces that they do on the courtroom. That is the mentality that we should take away. Each time that we’re on the courtroom, we now have to go 100%,” defined Ndong.
Youthful workforce does it for Egypt
Group E hosts Egypt, fielding one of many youngest groups within the qualifiers, showcased a few of their potential future stars.
Led by former MVPs of the FIBA U18 African Championships 2010 and 2012 Aly Ahmed and Ehab Amine, Egypt sealed their successful runs within the first spherical of qualifiers with a 99-76 victory over Morocco on Sunday.
The North Africans, who final gained the AfroBasket in 1983, had earlier edged previous Cape Verde 91-82 after beating Uganda 96-77 of their opener.
“My long-term plan as head coach of this workforce is to play with a workforce that averages 24 to 25 years outdated,” mentioned Egyptian coach Ahmed Marei. “Why? As a result of each single yr we now have new gamers. We want consistency and continuity to construct a profitable workforce.”
Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Guinea had already performed their first-round Group C matches in Yaoundé through the February 2020 window earlier than the event was postponed because of the pandemic.
The Ivorians completed unbeaten and lead the group forward of Cameroon.
The ultimate spherical of Qualifiers is scheduled for 19-21 February, 2021.