08 February, 2019
26 May
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Can anyone stop Etoile Sportive Rades in Group B?

COTONOU (Benin) - In the build-up to Group B of the FIBA Africa Basketball League 2019, the inevitable question is 'Can anyone stop Etoile Sportive Rades in Cotonou, Benin Republic?

For three days, starting on Friday  March 8th until Sunday, BC Terreur from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigerian outfit Civil Defenders Basketball, hosts Elan Sportif and Tunisian champions ES Rades will do battle in an attempt to finish in the top of two places of the group, which ensure a place in the ELITE 8 knock out stage.

While ES Rades - and BC Terreurs might lack some in-depth scouting on their opponents, Civil Defenders Basketball and Elan Sportif are known to each other having faced off before for the FIBA Africa Zone 3 Qualifiers.

 With a roster made up of half of Tunisian internationals - including Rzig Amine, Mourad El Mabrouk, Mohamed Hadidane, Ziyed Chennoufi and Mokhtar Ghyaza, just to mention a few - and coached by Linos Gavriel, ES Rades display more international experience and pedigree than any of their three opponents. 

And if big names and international experience are enough attributes to success, then the Tunisians - who have never hidden their frustration of finishing as runners-up as hosts of the FIBA Africa Champions Cup 2017 - stand huge chances of progressing in competition come Sunday, March 10th.

However, hosts Elan Sportif, through team captain Romario Akpachi, has warned that being debutant at FIBA Africa's top clubs' competition wouldn't prevented them from dreaming high.

"Four players have joined us and that makes us stronger and better. On court, it’s five players against five. In essence, we’re not afraid of any team. Any team that has Romaric Quenum, Emmanuel Lougbegnon, John Oweh and John Okito like we have would know that we're no pushover," he explained.

So far, six teams have qualified for the ELITE 8, including - Angola duo of Primeiro D'Agosto and Petro Atletico de Luanda, Egypt's Al Ahly and Smouha Sporting Club, Association Sportive Sale from Morocco and JS Kairouan of Tunisia.