Childe Dundao: 1.67m but 4.7 steals per game!
LUANDA (Angola) - Childe Dundao is one of a kind these days. The shortest player in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup African Qualifiers, Dundao continues to prove doubters wrong day in day out.
At 1.67m (5ft 6in) of height, what he lacks in height the Angolan point guard has to spare in his competitiveness spirit. He is currently leading the African Qualifiers with an impressive average of 4.7 steals per game. Amazing!
And to become Angola's starting point guard in recent times, he says, is the result of long hours in the gym and self-belief.
"I have always believed that I could play at the highest level," he told FIBA.basketball.
Ever since Dundao debuted for the senior team during the 2021 AfroBasket Qualifiers, he's gone from strength to strength in Angola's rotation, and with the next window of the African Qualifiers coming up next month in Abidjan, he insists that he can't wait to keep showing that his size isn't so much a handicap.
"When I step on the basketball court I never think about my size. After the jump ball we are on the same page.
"Being a short player has its own advantages and I know how to explore it to my benefit during games."
From being primarily a playmaker, Dundao has now become a terrific three-point shooter.
"It's all about creating shooting opportunities for others and put myself in the right position to score. Due to my quickness, taller opponents tend to struggle to guard me," he said.
Dundao has become an elite defender. Just last month, Dundao was named to the Basketball Africa League All-Defensive Team while helping his Petro de Luanda to second place of the tournament.
Over the years, Angola has had some of the finest point guards on the continent. From two-time Olympian Miguel Lutonda, Milton Barros to Armando Costa, Dundao feels he is just trying to be himself, although he admits watching those former players inspired him to become the player he is now.
Miguel Lutonda - who now serves as assistant coach to Angola men's team - is seen in action during the 2010 World Cup
"I can't be compared to those guys," Dundao stressed. "They were great playmakers, and I just want to be the best basketball player I can be."
"It's a huge responsibility to fill in their shoes. [Lutonda] He's one of the best players Angola has ever produced. I just try to be as productive to the national team as I can. Whenever the national team selects me, I always focus on giving my whole for my country."
From the early age, Dundao embraced a winning and positive mindset to succeed in basketball. "My height has never been an issue to me," he pointed out.
His first step to succeed in basketball, he said, was to call the attention of the national team.
And when he helped his country to the 2016 FIBA U18 African Championship title in Kigali, and featured in the 2019 FIBA AfroCan, Dundao felt there was not way back.
"The more you play international competitions, the better player you become because you get the chance to face opponents with a different style of play and you learn from them."
Childe Dundao was pivotal in Angola's U18 African Championship title in 2016
"Winning the U18 African Championship was a special occasion for me. It helped me grow as a player, and it boosted my self-confidence.
"I have always believed that if I worked hard I would make it to the national team."
Angola opened their African Qualifiers Group C campaign with a shocking defeat to Cote d'Ivoire in November 2021 in what was his country's first defeat on home soil.
Dundao insists that losing, even if painful, is part of Angola's rebuilding.
"We played with a very young group of players who took some positives from playing in such a big stage. Some of us had never played in such competition. But with the addition of more experienced players, I believe we'll be fine [in Abidjan]."