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Nigeria are favorites for the second title in the 30th FIBA AfroBasket competition, which starts on August 24th in the Rwandan capital Kigali.
The competition will be broadcast live and exclusively on the StarTimes channels.
D’Tigers, the continent’s only representative at the recent Tokyo Olympics, is expected to be the team to beat at the Kigali Arena.
Despite being eliminated in the group stage in Tokyo after losing all three games, the Nigerian basketball officials decided to stay with American coach Mike Brown.
The former head coach of the LA Lakers, who also serves as the Nigerian coach with his role as assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors, said he was interested in making Nigerian basketball grow.
“I’m going to steer this program in the right direction because this program can be really good. We hit some speed bumps during those Olympics and it hurts. “
Brown has several experienced players like Ike Diogu, Obi Emegano and Ike Iroegbu, as well as striker Jordan Nwora, who was crowned NBA champion with the Milwaukee Bucks last month.
The West Africans have moved to Group C, where they meet Mali, Kenya and the Ivory Coast.
Tunisia, beating D’Tigers in the 2017 final of the tournament, is one of only three teams – the rest are Egypt and Nigeria – that haven’t lost a game in qualifying.
In Group B, they face Egypt, Guinea and the Central African Republic, with the two best teams in each group advancing to the quarter-finals.
Last year, Tunisia replaced the five-time AfroBasket winning coach Mario Palma with German coach Dirk Bauermann as head coach.
But while they may have a makeover at the bank, much of the team will have a lot of AfroBasket experience. Half of the squad that won the country’s first title in 2011 are expected to be in the roster in Kigali.
For players like Mourad El Mabrouk (34), Salah Mejri (35), Slimane Radhouane (41) and Mohamed Hadidane (35), this could well be a last-ditch attempt to win another title.
In Group A of the tournament from August 24th to September 5th, Angola, which disappointed in the last tournament when they finished seventh, will face Rwanda, Cape Verde and the DR Congo.
In 2017 it was the first time since 1981 that the eleven-time champion, who dominated the sport in Africa for a long time, no longer made it into the top three.
One of the players who could make his AfroBasket debut for Angola is 31-year-old Jone Pedro. The son of former international Adriano Baiao said that, contrary to what many think, Group A is not that easy.
“So the best we can do as a team is to be as prepared as possible for anything. In terms of my personal goals, I want to be the best version of myself. “
Group D consists of the five-time champions Senegal, Uganda, Cameroon and the first-time participant from South Sudan.
With shooting guard Brancou Badio, who plays for FC Barcelona, Senegal has one of the rising stars of African basketball. Former NBA player Boniface Ndong, who was named Senegalese head coach last year, said he looks forward to working with Badio.
“At 21, he’s the kind of player we really need. A young Senegalese guard who plays for one of the largest teams in the EuroLeague. I will help him grow.
“Maybe he doesn’t have a lot of responsibility at Barcelona, but I’ll give him something in our national team because the faster he grows, the better for us.”
Basketball fans all over Africa can follow the action of this year’s AfroBasket tournament live and exclusively on the StarTimes channels ST Sports Life and ST Sports Focus.
StarTimes is the leading digital TV operator in Africa, serving 13 million DVB subscribers and 27 million OTT users in over 30 countries.
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