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55 Omar ORABY (Egypt)
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Egypt’s Oraby sets eyes on the future

CAIRO (AfroBasket 2015) - Egypt missed out on long-term goal of qualifying for next summer Olympic Games, but Omar Oraby feels their future looks bright.

The youngest team - averaging 24 years old - at the 16-team AfroBasket 2015 held last August in Rades, Tunisia, Egypt finished with a similar record (6-1) to eventual champions Nigeria.

They claimed the fifth-place in Africa’s flagship basketball tournament, but the general feeling is that they could have done a lot better.

An 83-63 defeat to Angola in the Quarter-Finals ended Egypt’s hope of securing at least a place in the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, however, it is the future that matters for the North Africans.

“We are young, talented, and our next goal is to qualify for the World Cup [2019],” Oraby said to FIBA.com.

The 2.18m center provided Egypt with an impressive rim protection, averaging 1.3 blocks per game, but, it is the team success that keeps Oraby going.

“What we achieved in Tunisia was a starting point for the future our national team,” he noted.

We built a great chemistry, and hopefully we will continue to play together in the years to come - Oraby

With the AfroBasket 2015 done and dusted for another two years, the former standout at Southern California University who currently plays for Egypt side Gezira, sets his eyes on the future of his basketball career.

And, he has some high goals.

After playing for the Houston Rockets in the 2014 Summer League, and trying to become the first Egypt-born to play in the NBA, Oraby felt he had the necessary exposure for a professional basketball career.

However, in a turn of events, the 24-year-old saw his professional basketball career delayed.

“On my return to Egypt I was conscripted into the Army, which prevented me from leaving the country,” he recalled.

“Then I got a training camp offer from the Los Angeles Lakers but I couldn’t go due to my military obligations.

“But I finish my service obligation in August 2016 and I will try to resume my basketball career overseas,” he pointed out.

Next up for Oraby is the upcoming African Champions Cup (ACC), which will run from 10-20 December in Luanda, Angola.

And if he is cleared to play - after suffering two broken bones in the face during the 2015 All-Africa Games last September - he aims to start paving his way to a professional basketball overseas.