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Egypt look forward to U19 Worlds challenge
CAIRO (2015 FIBA U19 World Championship) - Egypt head into the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship predominantly looking to take the difficult challenge head on and continue the program's on-going development.
Egypt head coach Branislav Jemc knows his FIBA Africa U18 Championship-winning team will not be considered one of the contenders. And the veteran Serbian knows his team will face a stiff challenge in Greece, where they were drawn into Group A with the talent-laden USA and Croatia as well as Asian stronghold Iran.
"It's obvious that we are not one of the favorites," Jemc said matter-of-factly.
"But it's a great challenge for us to compete with strong and great teams that have players of that caliber which will later reach NBA level."
The main thing is that Jemc expects his team to give 100 percent.
"We'll try to give our best effort and demonstrate our talent," said the coach.
Just the fact that Egypt will play in Crete is important for the basketball leaders in the country.
"The Basketball Federation of Egypt in its basketball development strategy for youth teams has the goal to qualify and participate in world championships and in that way to directly follow the development and new trends in world's basketball," said Jemc.
When asked about his expectations for the U19 Worlds, the coach replied: "The expectations are to show our quality and talent, and to demonstrate modern trends in youth basketball."
Jemc will call his team together for the first time after the Egyptian youth championship takes place in mid-April. He expects the main leaders from the teams that played at the 2014 FIBA Africa U18 Championship and 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship to play major roles again in Greece.
One player who will not play in late June and early July is Rauf Elsafvani because of school duties.
Jemc is particularly looking forward to mid-May when Mohamed Abdelrahmen returns to Egypt from his studies in the United States. The coach is anxious to see where his main leader from both the U18 and U17 teams last summer is development-wise.
"He is one of the team leaders. He possesses undeniable talent to create and he is one the most important players on the national team," said Jemc.
"After the U17 World Championship, the weaknesses that he needs to improve were pointed out to him, especially in individual techniques and individual tactics, and we had worked on that."
But that was before Abdelrahmen left for the USA.
"Considering that in the fall of 2014 he went to America to study, I don't currently know how much he did progress. Since I know that he likes to work and practice, I believe he made progress and thereby he will improve our game."
Jemc is hoping Abdelrahmen can improve Egypt's game enough to be competitive in Greece.