24 August, 2021
05 September
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AfroBasket 2021 - Team Profile: Cameroon

YAOUNDE (Cameroon) - As a country, Cameroon has become a regular destination for basketball scouts in recent times, and a quick a look into their national team squads' and it becomes clear why that is.

This is a team that has never short in size and talent, but, for some answered reason, Cameroon have only reached the AfroBasket podium once. It happened unannounced in 2007 when they shocked Africa, taking the Second-Place of the tournament.

With this year's African Championship scheduled to run from August 24 to September 5, at Kigali Arena in Rwanda, here are some key facts about Cameroon:

Two of the biggest names in modern NBA come from Cameroon, but neither Pascal Siakam nor Joel Embiid have represented their country internationally yet, and, it won't happen at FIBA AfroBasket 2021.

Team: Cameroon.
FIBA Ranking Men
: 65th (World); 7th (Africa).
Last participation in the AfroBasket: 2017 (2 wins, 2 losses; 5th-Place).
Best result at AfroBasket: Runners-up at FIBA AfroBasket 2007.
How they qualified for the AfroBasket 2021 - Finished second in Group C of the Qualifiers held in their capital city of Yaounde with a 4-2 mark.
World: Cameroon's only appearance on the world stage happened at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2008 in Athens, where they finished 0-2 after losses to Croatia and Puerto Rico.
Youth teams impact: Despite some attempts to regenerate and bring youth national teams to the top of the continent, progress  remains somehow timid, although the NBA has launched encouraging initiatives with Jr NBA Cameroon.  

What can't be denied is the positive impact of US and European youth basketball programmes to Cameroon basketball with some of the country's big names building their early careers overseas. 

History/Qualification: The AfroBasket 2007 turned out to be a game-changer for the Central African country.

After a 15-year absence, Cameroon returned to Africa's premier basketball tournament in 2007 in a remarkable style. With a number of US-based College basketball players, Cameroon took Africa by a storm going all the way to the Final - after a 5-0 in early stages of the tournament - only to be denied by hosts Angola. 

Cameroon have never missed an AfroBasket appearance since 2007. 

Key Players: Benoit Mbala, Kenneth Kadji and Jeremy Nzeulie have become the core of the team in recent times. 

Rising Star: Aristide Mouaha turns 21 just a week before the start of the AfroBasket 2021. But the youngest member of the Cameroonian squad has proven his worth in the Qualifiers, where he contributed 5.5 points in two games.

Mouaha's progression margin makes him a valuable asset for the Cameroonian team. 

Aristide Mouaha Tcheussi

New addition: These aren't necessarily new additions as both Darryl 'DJ' Strawberry and Landry Nnoko have worn the Cameroonian jersey during the FIBA Basketball World Cup African Qualifiers 2019. 

While Strawberry - a 1.96m (6ft 5in) shooting guard - is a terrific three-point shooter, 2.08m (6ft 10in center) Nnoko is a defensive-minded player, who grabbed the headlines after winning the NBA G League 2018  Defensive Player of the Year award.  

Head coach: Lazare Adie Ngono started his coaching career as an assistant at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. It didn't take long, before the former player took charge of Cameroon's national team at AfroBasket 2007 held in Angola, where he guided his country to a remarkable Second-Place finish.

After leading Morocco's perennial champions AS Sale to a Third-Place finish at FIBA Africa Champions CUP 2011, Adie Ngono joined Angolan outfit Petro de Luanda, a club he helped win the Africa Champions Cup 2015.

More recently Adie Ngono coached Cameroon's side FAP during the inaugural Basketball Africa League.

Adie Ngono has coached his native Cameroon on a number of occasions, including at AfroBasket (2007, 2011, 2013 and 2015). Before rejoining Cameroon for the last window of the AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers (February 2021), the 43-year-old coach led his country in the last window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup African Qualifiers 2019.

Outlook: With the exception of the AfroBasket 2015, reaching the Quarter-Finals has been a norm for Cameroon. There is no reason not to believe that they cannot make it to the Last Eight this time around in Kigali. 

But first, Cameroon need to pass their Group D team, which includes Senegal and high-flying duo of South Sudan and Uganda.