Power Rankings: Where each team stands after Window 4 of the African Qualifiers
ABIDJAN/MONASTIR (Cote d'Ivoire/Tunisia) - Cote d'Ivoire became the African first team to qualify for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup after a perfect 3-0 record in the latest qualification window in Abidjan and Monastir, leaving four tickets up for grabs for the continent of Africa.
Just over a week since Window 4 of the African Qualifiers came to a close, where does each team stand?
NOTE: The movement from previous rankings in August is reflected in the brackets.
#1 COTE D'IVOIRE (+2)
Record: 7-0 in Group E
FIBA World Ranking (Africa) presented by Nike: 5th
By winning all their African Qualifiers games so far and becoming the first team on the continent qualify for next year's World Cup - with three games left - the Ivorians have reached the pinnacle of their basketball over the last decade.
Although Cote d'Ivoire played the last six games at home, their 6-0 mark was anything but easy. Angola, Nigeria, Guinea, Cape Verde, Uganda, and Central African Republic - all forced the Ivorians to bring their A-game, and they prevailed in a remarkable fashion, despite some major adjustments that the team faced ahead of W4.
Cote d'Ivoire are returning to the World Cup for the second straight time.
#2 SOUTH SUDAN (-1)
Record: 8-1 in Group F
FIBA World Ranking (Africa) presented by Nike: 11th
Window 4 of the African Qualifiers in Monastir brought a bittersweet taste to the Bright Stars of South Sudan. A 3-0 record in the Tunisian coastal city of Monastir would have seen them qualify for the World Cup, but a 2-1 mark leave them just a win away from the highest moment in South Sudan' still young basketball history.
Do they have the potential to make history? Absolutely.
#3 EGYPT (+1)
Record 7-2 in Group F
FIBA World Ranking (Africa) presented by Nike: 6th
Egypt have implemented a brand new style of play based on aggressiveness on both ends of the floor and compete for every ball possession, and this was reflected during Egypt's 85-65 defeat to South Sudan. Even thought the Pharaohs trailed by 24 points at some point, Roy Rana's team never backed down.
Window 5 will be a huge test for the Egypt who seek their first World Cup appearance since 2014. South Sudan, Tunisia and Cameroon may have a say in Egypt's World Cup aspirations, but the Egyptians are still in control of their destiny.
#4 ANGOLA (+3)
Record: 5-2 in Group E
FIBA World Ranking (Africa) presented by Nike: 3rd
The Angolans won four games in a row for the first time since November 2018 when they hosted Window 5 of the 2019 World Cup African Qualifiers in Luanda. Is this a real sign of the former African's resurgence? It may be.
The fact that Angola are competing with a mostly-new squad and continue to play solid and competitive basketball is a huge moral booster and it's everything they needed to stay in contention for a sixth straight World Cup appearance.
If Angola do qualify for a sixth straight World Cup appearance, it'll be safe to say that the eleven-time African times are back after a two modest AfroBasket appearances in 2017 and 2021.
#5 SENEGAL (+3)
Record: 6-3 in Group F
FIBA World Ranking (Africa) presented by Nike: 4th
Victories over South Sudan, hosts Tunisia and Cameroon last week in Monastir seem to have relaunched Senegal's World Cup African Qualifiers campaign. How did they do it? Senegal improved their 3pt- shooting; they treated every game as a do-or-die situation, and, of course, Brancou Badio and Gorgui Dieng proved to be Senegal's key factors.
Wherever Window 5 of the African Qualifiers may be, Senegal should keep the same attitude to qualify for a third straight World Cup appearance.
#6 CAPE VERDE (-)
Record: 4-3 in Group E
FIBA World Ranking (Africa) presented by Nike: 10th
A 1-2 mark in W4 is damaging to Cape Verde's World Cup aspirations, but it's not the end of the world. Coach Emanuel Trovoada need to find immediate answers to his team's struggles in W4 and make readjustments. A deeper bench is highly needed to keep Cape Verde in the race to the World Cup.
#7 TUNISIA (-5)
Record: 5-4 in Group F
FIBA World Ranking (Africa) presented by Nike: 2nd
What next for the reigning African champions? Dirk Bauermann was released from his head coach duties after the last game of W4, but Tunisia's struggles lie a lot deeper.
To start with the Eagles of Carthage have to be able to play without 36-year-old Salah Mejri (his ejection after two technical fouls against Egypt hurt them); Tunisia's bench, which includes veterans and African champions Mohamed Hadidane, Mourad El Mabrouk and Mokthar Ghayaza - need to be more productive, and, more importantly, the Tunisians' need to be able to match or be able to overcome their opponents's athleticism and fast-faced style of play.
Whoever the new head coach may be, there is a lot room for improvement for Tunisia whose World Cup qualification is more questionable now than ever before.
#8 DR CONGO (+1)
Record: 4-5 in Group F
FIBA World Ranking (Africa) presented by Nike: 13th
A 0-3 mark hasn't ended the Congolese World Cup's dream, but it has made it terribly difficult. None would love to reach this stage of the competition and depend on other teams' results, but this is the situation for DR Congo.
#9 NIGERIA (-4)
Record: 3-4 in Group E
FIBA World Ranking (Africa) presented by Nike: 1st
By this time in the 2019 World Cup African Qualifiers Nigeria boasted a 9-0 mark and were one of the two teams - alongside Tunisia - to have qualified to the China showdown.
However, having three different head coaches (Julius Nwosu, Alan Major and Mfon Udofia) over the last nine games, plus a number of new players and an apparent lack of team chemistry seem to have influenced Nigeria's current 3-4 record.
The two losses to Angola and Cote d'Ivoire in Abidjan last week were a major blow for Nigeria to deal with.
Making it to the Indonesia-Japan-Philippines showpiece has become an uphill task for D'Tigers, but not impossible to overcome.
#10 CAMEROON (+1)
Record: 2-7 in Group F
FIBA World Ranking (Africa) presented by Nike: 7th
Beating DR Congo in the opener of Group F in Monastir was huge for Cameroon, but they failed to capitalise on that victory as they closed W4 with an 1-2. Cameroonians have already started talking about rebuilding the team and get ready for future major competitions.
#11 GUINEA (+1)
Record: 1-6 in Group E
FIBA World Ranking (Africa) presented by Nike: 17th
Guinea's chances of qualifying for the World Cup are almost non-existent, but beating Uganda in a hard-fought game was huge for a team that reached the 2021 AfroBasket Quarter-Finals.
#12 UGANDA (-2)
Record: 1-7 in Group E
FIBA World Ranking (Africa) presented by Nike: 14th
The Silverbacks competed hard throughout W4, but lacking a deeper rotation proved costly for the East Africans who lost their last four African qualifiers games.
*The power rankings are entirely subjective and is in no way a true, accurate ranking systems. All comments are purely those of the author.