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84 Aicha Sidibe (SEN), 11 Maimouna Diarra (SEN), 24 Yacine Diop (SEN), 4 Oumoul Khairy Thiam (SEN), 1 Ndeye Khadidiatou Dieng (SEN)
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Senegal coach Sarr says hosting #AfroBasketWomen 2019 brings positive pressure

DAKAR (Senegal) - Senegal head coach Cheikh Sarr admits that they will need to be ready to overcome tough opposition in order to win in front of their home fans.

Senegal have recently been named hosts of the FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2019 to be held in August in the capital city of Dakar. 

 After finishing second at FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2017 in Bamako, Mali, Senegal will target their thirteenth continental title, although they are expected to face stiff competition from reigning champions Nigeria, Mali and Mozambique.

To do better than they did in 2007 when they last hosted and finished second - after losing to Mali in the Final - Sarr vows to bring together young and more experienced players.

Nevertheless, it comes as no surprise that the play-caller is urging for a collective effort this time around.

"It's a huge challenge," Sarr told the local media. 

"This is the African championship. We play at home, and  it is an opportunity to make the most of it. But also there is a lot of pressure, because as hosts we want to win it. There will certainly be positive pressure, popular enthusiasm, motivation for players and coaches. And I think this can strengthen the links around the basics compared to local basketball players. It's a big event," he acknowledged. 

This year's African Championship will be Senegal's first major appearance after making quite a noise at last year's FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup where they upset Latvia to advance to the knock-out stages for the first time in their basketball history.