ES Rades duo Mbodji, Chennoufi target Africa Basketball League 2019 title
RADES (Tunisia) - Etoile Sportive Rades last week dominated Group B of the FIBA Africa Basketball League 2019 in the Beninese city of Cotonou with an emphatic 3-0 mark, now the Tunisia champions are setting even higher goals.
After beating hosts Elan Sportif, Civil Defenders of Nigeria and BC Terreur from the Democratic Republic of Congo, two ES Rades players -Ziyed Chennoufi and Amadou Mbodji - revealed to FIBA.basketball that they are ready to do everything in their power to capture the top prize of FIBA Africa's flagship club competition.
Chennoufi admits playing fellow Tunisian side JS Kairouan in the Elite 8 knockout stage will be tough but they will look to be ruthless on the court.
Ziyed Chennoufi (ES Rades)
The 2.01m (6ft7in) small forward - who averaged 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steal and an efficiency rate of 9.7 per game in the three games - insisted that his side were tremendous in the Group Phase, and they hope to build on that successful campaign in Cotonou.
"With due respect to Elite 8 teams, but we set a goal at the start of the season back home and that is to win our local league and become the first club to lift the first edition of the FIBA Africa Basketball League.
"Our performance in Cotonou was just part of what to expect from us in the knock-out stage and it's good that we are drawn against a familiar foe - JS Kairouan - at the Elite 8 stage. We are not underestimating them but we are confident that they won't pose any threat to our set-goal."
🇹🇳 ES Rades center Mbodji sets a record for most field goals made at the #AfricaLeague! 85.7% (12/14) vs Nigeria's @DefendersBballl 💯💯💯— Africa Basketball League (@AfricaLeague) March 9, 2019
➡ https://t.co/mUlTOdFTEs@ESRofficielle @ftbb_tunisie pic.twitter.com/rBEiDParwX
Mbodji backed Chennoufi's statements, adding: "It's our dream to become the first winner of the first FIBA ABL which will go a long way as a morale booster to us as players and our management who has done so well thus far.
"Every team that have qualified for the Elite 8 will not be push over so we will approach each game going forward with caution because any slip means we are out as it's the knock-out," The 2,11m (6ft11in) center, continued.
The 32-year-old Senegalese has been instrumental for the Tunisian outfit, finishing with a team-high 15.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.3 block and efficiency rating of 18.7 per contest.
ES Rades will go up against JS Kairouan March 29-31st in the Elite 8 two-game series.
Both Chennoufi and Mbodji welcomed FIBA Africa for coming up with the new system which has seen the continent foremost club competition.