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Roy Rana is new Egypt head coach
CAIRO (Egypt) - Canadian tactician Roy Rana has been named as the new Egypt head coach ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 African Qualifiers second window set for February 25-27.
The 53-year old has also served on the coaching staff of the Utah Jazz, San Antonio Spurs and Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings, has been tasked with leading the Pharaohs to the biggest basketball showpiece in the world after the North Africans narrowly missed out on the 2019 edition in China.
The strong-willed Rana will replace Egyptian Ahmed Marei who resigned in October to focus entirely on his club side Alexandria-based Al Ittihad.
Rana is not new to Egypt. In 2017, he made history when he inspired Canada to their first ever FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup trophy after stunning the reigning champions, seven-time record winners (at the time) and arch-rivals USA in a tense Semi-Final that ended 99-87 before beating Italy in the Final to leave an impeccable mark in the Egyptian capital of Cairo.
His return to the Land of the Pharaohs is expected to create a spark as he tries to revive the fortunes of a side that has great potential but immensely underperformed at the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 in Kigali, Rwanda where they were stunned by Guinea in the Round of 16.
Sudanese-Canadian Abu-Haef Kigab speaks to Rana during a game
Egypt are in Group D alongside Senegal, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya and will need to at least finish among the top three teams after two windows if they are to stand a chance of progressing to the final round of qualification that will see the top five teams represent Africa at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 in Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines.
The Toronto native brings immense experience especially from the junior level having made a name at the Nike Hoop Summit where he is regarded as the longest serving World Team Coach and most successful with at least 20 of his former players making it to the NBA including former league MVP Nikola Jokic.
Former African champions Egypt finished 11th in the 16-nation 2021 FIBA AfroBasket
Rana guided the Canada U16 team to bronze at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship 2009 and the FIBA U17 World Cup the following year. In 2012, he led the Canadian team to another bronze at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship.
Four years later, there was an improvement as he led the latter team to silver at the same event thus qualifying them to the FIBA U19 World Cup in Egypt which Canada won.