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Michael-Mokongo-19-04-2013
19/04/2013
News
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CAF - Mokongo eyes podium in Abidjan

BANGUI (Afrobasket/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Michael Mokongo believes Central African Republic (CAF) has quality enough to finish on the podium at the 2013 Afrobasket.

He first represented his native CAF four years - at the Africa zone 3 2009 Afrobasket qualifying tournament - and he thinks they have a chance.

At the 2011 Afrobasket, the 26-year-old averaged 11 points per game and led CAF with six assists per game, but they fell short of reaching the Quarter-Finals following a 94-86 defeat to Nigeria.

Now, Mokongo - who represented France internationally at youth categories until the 2006 U20 European Championship - says he is aiming to represent CAF at the 2013 Afrobasket to be held in Abidjan, in August.

"Yes, of course," he said when asked about his availability to represent CAF again.

CAF have been drawn in Group A of the tournament alongside Angola, Cape Verde and Mozambique.

"I wish to play [at Afrobasket] this summer because I think we have a chance to finish in the top 2 or 3," he said.

"I think Central African Republic has a good chance.

The three teams that finish in the top three places qualify to the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup to be held in Spain.

"It just depends on how our leaders can put players in a good state of mind and a good working environment."

CAF is rated as one of Africa's strongest teams, especially if they are able to attract players of the calibre of Romain Sato, James Mays, Regis Koundjia and Max Kouguere, who recently told told FIBA.com he was available to represent his country.

CAF last won an African title in 1987, and went to play at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Since then, they have been unable to do better than three fifth-place finishes in the continental championship (1997, 2003 and 2005).

Central African Republic is currently experiencing social unrest, which has caused some uncertainty in the national team's preparation, but Mokongo has a view on how to succeed in Africa.

"Angola dominates African basketball because they are structured; they invest in players, local basketball and training camps," he explained.

"There is no secret. It is like everything in life."

Should he play in Abidjan, Mokongo will become of one the most regulars with his national team.

FIBA