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Mamadou Moustapha GAYE (Head Coach - Senegal)
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Gaye re-appointed as Senegal head coach for Rio Olympics

DAKAR (2016 Rio Olympics) - Moustapha Gaye has been re-appointed head coach of Senegal's women's national team, the country’s Basketball Federation (FSBB) confirmed on Thursday. 

Last October, Gaye guided his country to the title at AfroBasket Women 2015 in Yaounde, Cameroon, and as a result qualified directly for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The Olympics will be Gaye's sixth major competition in charge of the "Lionesses" who return to the Olympics for the first time since 2000.

Looking ahead to the challenge, he told FIBA.com there will be a number of positives to take away from the tournament: "I have to admit that we may not be at world class level yet, but the Olympics will help our team team get better."

Gaye has never hidden his interest to coach his country at the Olympics.

“The Federation asked me to prepare our national team to win the AfroBasket Women 2017, and this is one of main goals. I know it won’t be easy to win the African title again because teams such as Nigeria, Mozambique, Angola, Mali and Cameroon have become really competitive.”

Senegal (SEN) won AfroBasket Women 2015

Under Gaye, Senegal won two African championships - in 2009 and 2015 - but the Western Africans compiled an 0-7 mark on the world stage, with defeats at the 2008 FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament (WOQT) and 2010 FIBA Women's World Championship.

Asked if Senegal could become the first African team to win a game at the Olympics since Nigeria beat Korea at Athens 2004, Gaye said: "I don't know. I have to wait for the draw to see which teams we will face. This is a very tough competition."

So far seven teams - Australia, Brazil, Serbia, USA, Japan, Canada and Senegal - have already qualified for the Rio Games, with the remaining five participants making up the 12-team field to be decided at the 2016 FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Nantes, France from 13-19 June.

The only thing I can say about our campaign at the Olympics is that we are going to do our best. Right now I am already scouting players of Senegalese heritage from across Europe. If they are good enough I will give them a chance. - Gaye

A number of Senegalese players - including Fatou Dieng and Mame Diodio Diouf - have returned home to play for local clubs, and Gaye welcomes the decisions.

"Rather than staying in Europe without playing, I think this a good decision because I have a chance to see them playing."

Senegal will open their 45-day Olympic Games preparation in June. They hope to hold training camps in Dakar and Europe.