Diabate, Kone to lead Cote d'Ivoire in the World Cup
BEIJING (China) - Cote d'Ivoire revealed their final roster for the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.
The Elephants will be making their return to the flagship event of world basketball after their 2014 absence and will be led by 2010 veterans, Charles Abouo, Souleyman Daibate , Guy Landry Edi and Mohamed Kone
FIBA World Cup African Qualifiers mainstays, Bryan Pamba, Nonma Adjehi, Vafessa Fofana, Bali Coulibaly, Tiegbe Bamba are also included while newcomers Deon Thompson and Abraham Sie round up the roster.
|Cote D'Ivoire 12-man roster for FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019|
|Charles Abouo||Frejus Zerbo||Bali Coulibaly||Mohamed Kone|
|Bryan Pamba||Souleyman Diabate||Tiegbe Bamba||Deon Thompson|
|Nonma Adjehi||Vafessa Fofana||Guy Landry Edi||Abraham Sie|
Floor general, Diabate is expected to lead the charge after the 32-year old's impressive Qualifiers campaign, topping the African country in the assists department with a steady 4.2 assists average, while 38-year old Kone will be tasked to man the middle with the 6ft 11in (2.11m) center determined to prove he still belongs in the big stage.
"It feels good to be back at the World Cup, playing for the second time," Kone shared. "Not a lot of people, from where I come from, have made it this far. Playing against the best players from around the world is a big achievement, especially at my age."
Head Coach Paolo Povia is aware of the odds the Elephants are facing but believes that they are well-equipped to string together a few more surprises dating back to the last window of the Qualifiers.
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"No one gave us a chance to qualify for this World Cup, and we did it. No one believed we could beat Nigeria, and we did it. We had been ruled out from start to finish of the African Qualifiers, and here we are. We are going to play the host nation China in Beijing?" Povia proudly stated.
Cote d'Ivoire are the lowest-ranked team (64th) in the 32-team field, but as the proud African team showed in their phenomenal run in the final window of the Qualifiers, their ranking is just that, a number.
The Elephants recorded huge wins over Nigeria (72-46), Rwanda (87-60), Mali (69-49) to leapfrog their way to the best third-place record of the region at the conclusion of the African Qualifiers.
Grouped together with hosts China, Poland and Venezuela, underestimating Cote D'Ivoire will be fool's gold for their opponents.