×
28 July, 2019
03 August
Shannel Julio
24/07/2019
News
to read

Mozambique in high spirits ahead of #FIBAU16Africa 2019

MAPUTO (Mozambique) - For two consecutive editions of the FIBA U16 Women's African Championship, Mozambique has finished in fourth place including the last one at home in Beira but the current team wants to make amends when they compete in this year's edition in Kigali, Rwanda from July 28 to August 3. 

Mozambique captain Shannel Julio is ecstatic at the opportunity this year's tournament brings to her and her teammates who will be donning national team colours at an African competition for the very first time. 

"TO BE ON THE NATIONAL TEAM IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY AND TO PLAY FOR MOZAMBIQUE AT AN AFRICAN TOURNAMENT IS A GREAT FEELING FOR MY TEAMMATES AND I BECAUSE THIS WAS OUR DREAM SINCE WE STARTED PLAYING MINI BASKETBALL," - Julio

Mozambique have competed in every edition of this tournament since its launch in 2011 with their best performance being a bronze medal finish two years later at home in Maputo in front of their fans. 

This consistent culture of playing at the top level has encouraged several generations of young girls to remain motivated that one day they too can don the Mozambican national colours and make their nation proud. 

For Julio, this year's edition comes at a special time when Mozambique is also taking part in the FIBA U19 Women's World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand. 

Julio told FIBA.basketball in an exclusive interview that, "We want to emulate our older sisters who are playing at the FIBA U19 Women's World Cup in Bangkok."

Mozambique has qualified for the Round of 16 and will be looking to proceed to the business end of the tournament that has produced exciting action filled moments on court and introduced rising stars to the world. 

For Julio the objective is more than clear and she said, "In the last tournament, we did not manage to make it to the top three so this time, we are working very hard in training to make sure that we make it to the top three in Kigali. I also want to work very hard so that I can make it to the other national teams - U18 and the senior women's national side."

"To be on the national team is a great opportunity and to play for Mozambique at an African tournament is a great feeling for my teammates and I because this was our dream since we started playing mini basketball." 

However, Julio is wary of Mali's continued dominance at this tournament with the West Africans winning the last five consecutive tournaments in style.

"Mali is strong and they have good players and good organisation but basketball can be a very unpredictable sport and on court anything can happen. We respect Mali and the other teams and that is why we are working hard to surpass fourth place this time round."

Eight teams will be battling for continental supremacy in Kigali including Angola, Egypt, Mali, Mozambique, hosts Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania. 

FIBA