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African players who made a splash at World Cup
LEEDS (Julio Chitunda's African Message) - No African team has ever reached the Quarter-Finals at FIBA Basketball World Cup, but when it comes to individual performances a number of Africans have had their names heard at FIBA's flagship event over the past two and half decades.
And, with this year's World Cup just four months away, I'll focus today's column on African players who rose to the occasion dating back to 1994.
From tournament leading scorers, top rebounders and blockers to some of the best stealers, there has been a bit of everything among Africa's World Cup players.
Samir Mahmoud Gouda (Egypt)
At 1994 FIBA World Cup, 2.16m (7ft1in) Egypt center Samir Mahmoud Gouda hit the headlines after dominating the boards as rarely seen.
With 16 rebounds in a 76-69 defeat to Korea in Toronto, Canada, he set a tournament record for most rebounds in a single game, only to be tied with then emerging star Shaquile O'Neal who grabbed as many rebounds in a USA's 97-58 win over Greece.
And although Egypt returned home with a 1-7 mark, Gouda who led his country with team-highs 13.8 points and 8 rebounds, entered the history books the first Egyptian to ever grab 16 rebounds or more in a game in the history of the competition.
Moured Boughedir (Algeria)
Dirk Nowitzki may have been one of the most dominant players during his World Cup debut in 2002 where he not only led all players in scoring with an average of 24 points per game, but he also powered Germany to their first-ever Third-Place finish in the history of the competition, however, no player caused more mayhem to opponents than Algerian Moured Boughedir.
Boughedir combined his scoring and rebounding ability with defense prowess leading all players with 2.6 steals per game.
Xane D’Almeida (Senegal)
The Senegalese playmaker is famous for his ball-handing and game vision, and when they took on Philippines in the Group Phase at the 2014 World Cup in Spain, he lived up to his credentials finishing with a tournament-high 14 assists. And, as a result, D'Almeida finished second with 5.3 assists per game.
Yanick Moreira (Angola)
Making his World Cup debut at the age of 23 was an adventure that Moreira will remember for the rest of his days. He not only became a revelation for the Angolans, but with 38 points in a 91-83 win over Australia, he registered the tournament-high, tying Kevin Durant's World Cup record achieved four years earlier in Turkey.
Herve Lamizana (Cote d'Ivoire)
Although the 'Elephants' of Cote d'Ivoire fell short to advance to the Second Round at 2010 World Cup, Lamizana became a force to be reckoned with, especially at the defensive end.
Playing against hosts Turkey, Greece, Russia, China and Puerto Rico, he led all players with an average of 3.2 blocks per game.
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