Cape Verde near FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers with win over Chad
YAOUNDE (Cameroon) - Cape Verde displayed great wit as they outclassed Chad 90-73 in their opener at the FIBA AfroBasket Invitational tournament in Yaounde on Thursday.
In the process, they heighten their chances of worming their way to the Qualifiers of the FIBA AfroBasket 2021.
"MY PLAYERS CAME IN EXTREMELY CONFIDENT, THINKING THAT THEY WERE BETTER OFF THAN CAPE VERDE AND THEY PAID FOR IT."
The Islanders quick start in the first quarter was matched by an equal response from Chad who held a tight leash on their opponents with Cape Verde heading 23-17 at the end of the first quarter.
Forward Ronald Nato Kolmia kept Chad afloat in the game with 14 points and 4 rebounds at the end of the first half.
The second quarter was however a mismatch as Cape Verde point guard Shane Da Rosa came out guns blazing shooting 5-of-9 from the field as his side opened up a 17-point gap at half time with Cape Verde cruising 44-27.
But all hopes of a Chadian resurgence were quickly annihilated by a Cape Verdean outfit whose finishing required little exposition.
Veteran forward Fidel Mendonca made his presence felt scoring a game-high 25 points and 8 rebounds.
Da Rosa finished the game with 18 points as Anderson Correira hit 15 points with Cape Verde's bench contributing a sensational 41 points.
Ronald Kolmia's jaw dropping 24 points and Francis Mamadjibeye's 17 points proved futile for Chad as coach Abdoulaye Nodjimadji questioned his players desire for a win.
End of game day 1 and 🇨🇻 won their first game against 🇹🇩 90-73 behind Fidel Mendonca's 25 pts, 8 reb, 3 asts & 3 steals. pic.twitter.com/b2T9jETgaT— FIBA AfroBasket (@AfroBasket) October 22, 2020
"My players came in extremely confident, thinking that they were better off than Cape Verde and they paid for it," Chad's coach Nodjimadji mentioned adding, "They didn't even want to warm up because they thought it will be an easy game.
"They got into the game very complacent and before they realized it, Cape Verde had widened the lead and even though we fought hard in the last quarter it was too late.
"We need to be better in our execution and the players need to have a better attitude if not we're not going to perform well in this competition."
Chad's captain Richard Moguena who played in the country's lone FIBA AfroBasket in 2011 thinks all is not lost yet as they brace up for a clash against South Sudan on Saturday.
"We should have done better," the 34-year-old forward admitted before stating, "Hopefully, this defeat can push the team to react positively in our second game."
Cape Verde will be glad they had little problem adjusting to the rigours of Chad and hope this can be a good sign heading into their clash against South Sudan.
"Chad played incredibly well," Cape Verde's assistant coach Danielson Miranda told FIBA.basketball.
"We were happy that our team was able to manage the pressure from Chad in the first quarter and could take a quick lead.
"Towards the end of the game, our players looked very tired but they had done the most essential in the first three quarters so we'll take the win and look forward."
Cape Verde's next hurdle is against South Sudan this Friday with the islanders hoping they can replicate their fine fettle.
Chad, however, will watch anxiously from the sidelines hoping that the outcome of that clash will leave them with a glimmer of hope before their second and last game on Saturday against South Sudan.
The victor of the invitational tournament will take on Egypt, Morocco and Uganda in Group E of the Qualifiers in November in Alexandria.