17 February, 2020
23 February, 2021
12 Aristide Mouaha Tcheussi (CMR)
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Aristide Mouaha from mop boy to Cameroon international

YAOUNDE (Cameroon) - The game was in the third quarter and hosts Cameroon were leading Guinea 57-37 when Franck Yangue put the ball into Aristide Mouaha's hands.

The 1.91m (6ft 3in) point guard who was playing his maiden game for "The Lions" as the Cameroonian team is referred to burst into the paint with lightning speed, jumped high, and capped it with a ferocious dunk.

Mouaha's dunk however ended with him landing into the mop boy whom he winked at before taping him on the shoulder.

He had been there before and this encounter with the sweeper had just rekindled memories.


At the FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2015, Mouaha made it a duty sliding around the court with a large towel that no drop of sweat or debris that could dent the game was ever spotted on the woodwork.

"I have huge respect for the sweepers. I know what it is because my love for this sport stemmed from being a mop boy," Mouaha said in an exclusive interview with FIBA.basketball.

"It was my first real close experience with the sport," the 20-year-old stated before continuing, "There's something about being on the court. You see some of the things the players do better, you understand why they make a move and not another, and this close experience changed everything for me."

Despite being groomed in a basketball-mad family, Mouaha tilted more to football, at times attracting the angst of his parents and siblings.

"Two of my brothers play basketball and it's always the main topic at home. I was the tallest of all three, yet I played football," Mouaha admitted as he drove his hand through his locks.

"One day my mother called me and said I had to stop playing around and focus on basketball.

"Then once I went to the sports complex to watch my brother play a game. He had such a wonderful performance that I told myself that the next time I will be on the court rather than in the stands.

Alain Zedong has coached Cameroon at two straight FIBA Women's AfroBasket in 2013 and 2015

"After that episode, I went and registered at Alph Academy where I worked with Coach Alain Zedong and Francois Enyegue. From there I went to INJS for a year before I got an opportunity to continue playing basketball in Italy," he said.

But the Douala native is adamant talking to players and being close to them during the FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2015 bonanza  held in Yaounde fuelled his decision to dedicate his life to the game.

"Getting close to the court was an opportunity for us to get some kits from the players. Some of them were very cool," he remarked.

"Some of them were nice enough to give us jerseys, sneakers and even talk to us."

Mouaha on the books of Italian second-tier side Latina emphasizes however that his career was shaped by an exchange with former Cameroon point guard Miesha Blackshear.

Miesha who's now 33, was one of Cameroon's bright spots at the FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2015 posting 4.9 points and 1.9 rebounds but it was her energy on the court that influenced Mouaha's penchant for playmaking.

"Initially I played more as a small forward," the former INJS player said before pursuing, "Then I watched Miesha Blackshear and I was stunned."

Back in 2015, Cameroon denied Nigeria in the Semi-Final in front of a sellout crowd.

"Often when they had shooting drills, I'll stay around so I could pass the ball to the players and I had a very long discussion with Miesha.

"She was an exceptional point guard, with a wonderful reading of the game and I wanted to fashion my game to what I saw.

"She told me a lot of things I could do to be a better player. She gave me some hints on how to read the game, how to tackle an opponent, and the drills I could engage in to be a good point guard.

"To date, we've remained good friends and even though she's now retired, she's always ready to advise on how to get about certain challenges."

Mouaha's dream debut for Cameroon came on home court against Guinea where he posted 8 points and 4 assists in the Second Round of the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers.

"This was something incredible for me to play on the same court I used to mop and before my family," he recalled.

"It's proof that hard work pays off. When I look at all that I've been through, I tell myself that it was worth it.

"What I want kids who are lovers of basketball to know is that everything is possible if you set your mind to it.

"I want to continue working hard and continue producing results for both my club and country.

"I'll love to play at the FIBA Basketball World Cup with my country. That will probably be one of the highlights of my career," he concluded.