16 October, 2019
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Meet Union Sportive Monastir's new head coach Safouene Ferjani

MONASTIR (Tunisia) - Tunisian champions Union Monastir have signed Safouene Ferjani as their new head coach ahead of the start of the Basketball Africa League (BAL).

The 34-year-old Tunisian replaces his countryman Oualid Zrida, who last month guided the club to this season's Tunisian League title before powering the team to the Tunisian Cup trophy. 

Ferjani becomes the third coach this year to the lead two-time Tunisian League defending champions.

With the inaugural BAL expected later this year, Union Sportive Monastir will try to make history by winning their first-ever continental trophy, according to Ferjani. 

The Tunisians have been drawn against Patriots BC (Rwanda), Ferroviario de Maputo (Mozambique), Rivers Hoopers (Nigeria), Zamaleck (Egypt) and FAP (Cameroon).

The competition is nothing new for Ferjani, who led Tunisia's Etoile Sportive Rades to a fifth-place finish at the FIBA Africa Champions Cup 2015 in Angola.

Safouene Ferjani is seen celebrating with his players at FIBA Africa Champions Cup 2015 in Luanda 

"We are going to play the BAL to win it," Ferjani said to FIBA.basketball.

Ferjani says he had his first training session with with the team as soon as he agreed terms with the club last week.

"I am really excited to get started at BAL. We have an experienced group of players who played for me for different Tunisian clubs. It's a solid group of players, which blends young and a few veteran players.

"I know the players' mentality, they know me, and we are ready to compete in the BAL, where our goal is to win it."

More than half of the current Union Sportive Monastir roster consists of Tunisian international players, including 40-year-old Slimane Radhouane who has reportedly extended his contract with the club for another two seasons.  

It's Ferjani's fourth stint with Union Sportive Monastir, having coached the club in three different seasons namely in 2012, 2014 and 2018.

"I started my coaching career at the age of 24. At the time I might have been one of the youngest coaches in the world.

"I hurt my knee, it was an injury that prevented me from continue to play basketball. Along the way I obtained a number of coaching certificates. Apart from Monastir, I coached AS Hammamet during the Arab Championship 2014, I coached DS Grombalia, I was the head coach of Libya' Ittihad Tripoli and I coached JS Kairouan last year. I continue to improve my coaching skills," Ferjani explained.

Safouene Ferjani served as Tunisian assistant coach at FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2015 in Greece

How did the opportunity to return to Union Sportive Monastir come about?

"The President of the club called me. He already knew my work, we discussed a number of issues and he made me an offer to coach the club, and here we are" Ferjani, who signed a one-year deal, replied.

As for new additions, Ferjani said the club is bringing in two 21-year-olds Tunisians Oussema Marnaoui, who last played for JS Kairouan, and Wassef Methnani, who last played for the Fairfield University. The two will be joined by Walter Hodge.

FIBA