06 - 15
August 2021
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Zakariya Khodja return Algeria to the podium, Chad seek improvement

CAIRO (Egypt) - Algeria on Sunday returned to the podium of FIBA U16 African Champions for the first time since 2017 after beating Chad 65-50 in Cairo, Egypt. 

Algeria's achievement came up after they finished last in the ten-team FIBA U16 African Championship 2019 in Praia, Cape Verde. 

The North African nation has Zakariya Khodja to thank for the feat.

Khodja, who plays for US Menaceur of Algeria,‎ scored 19 points to his country's charge to victory over Chad who made a first appearance in the Championship.

After the victory, Khodja said he is happy that his team won a bronze. "It took us a look of effort to reach this stage and we thank our coaches for their patience and sacrifice of their time to teach us. Chad is not a team to just wish away because they also gave their best."

Chad's Caleb Andigue poured in a game-high 25 points but it was not enough to edge out the determined Algerians who kept pushing harder to claim victory.

However, the Fourth-Place finish for Chad in their first attempt is some sort of inspiration in the thinking of team captain Mbafe Kanigue Abdel-Kerim who believes that the experience in Cairo is nothing to regret.

"This is our first participation at this level and we fought like warriors. Being in this championship tells us that we still have a lot to learn to get to the level of other nations."

He admitted that Chad started on a very slow pace but is sure that with championships like this, they can get better. "Personally for me, this is a rewarding participation because it would make me work harder."

The Chad point guard days he looks up to a day when he would play like America's Steph Curry. "It is my dream to play like my idol, Steph Curry."