The numbers that defined the 2023 African Qualifiers
ABIDJAN (Cote d'Ivoire) - Now that the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 African Qualifiers are done and dusted, it's time to look back at the numbers that shaped up the competition.
Throughout the 15-month event, new records were set at the 2023 African Qualifiers.
16 national teams battled it out for the five tickets reserved for African nations for this year's FIBA Basketball World Cup to be held in Indonesia, Japan and Philippines, but eventually, Angola, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, and South Sudan secured the tickets to represent Africa at the 32-nation showpiece.
It was a competition marked by breathtaking encounters, and with it records were set, and numbers revealed a new face of the African Qualifiers.
Here are numbers that defined the 2023 African Qualifiers.
Angola point guard Childe Dundao made 6+ steals in two of his games in the World Cup Qualifiers to become the only African player with multiple games with that many steals in the African Qualifiers history.
1.67m Childe Dundao - the shortest player in the 2023 African Qualifiers - made his presence felt for Angola
When Nigeria, Tunisia and Senegal finished 10-2 to qualify for the 2019 edition of the World Cup in China, it looked as if that mark would be unrivalled, but, against the odds, African Qualifiers debutant South Sudan made sure to prove that records are created to be broken, and they did just that. South Sudan won all but one of their twelve 2023 African Qualifiers games, setting a new win-loss record (11-1) in the history of the competition.
Senegal center Youssou Ndoye set an African Qualifiers record for most rebounds in a game after grabbing 20 rebounds in 75-57 win over Egypt on February 25, 2022.
The Southern African nation, who is experiencing a rebuilding process, were the only team in all FIBA regions to make more than 20 steals in a World Cup 2023 Qualifiers game. It happened in a game against the Central African Republic in November 2021.
The record for most points scored in a single African Qualifiers games lasted 1670 days.
On July 1, 2018, Nigerian shooting guard Jordan Nwora hit five of his eleven three-point attempts to finish with an African Qualifiers-high 36 points in a 93-53 win over Mali to establish a scoring record in the history of the African Qualifiers.
Amr Abdelhalim 'Gendy'
However, on February 26, 2023, Egypt shooting guard Amr Abdelhalim 'Gendy' dethroned Nwora's record after pouring a historic 42 points in a 97-77 loss to South Sudan. It was the most ever scored by any African player in a single game in the World Cup Qualifiers.
They say that defense win titles and championships, and throughout their 12 games, Angola earned their sixth straight World Cup qualification by limiting their opponents to just 60.5 points per game, fewer than any other team in Africa and second lowest average in all regions. Australia conceded 57.9 points per game.
Angola were the only team in all regions to never concede 10+ 3-pointers in any of their 12 games.
Another virtue that propelled Angola to the World Cup was the way they protected the painted area and out-rebounded their opponents.
The former African champions grabbed 63 rebounds against Uganda on February 24, 2023, the most for a team in a game in any World Cup 2023 Qualifiers, including the Americas, Asia and Europe. Angola also grabbed 34 offensive rebounds in that game, the most for a team in a game in the history of the Qualifiers.
Cape Verde seven-footer center Walter Tavares has grabbed more than 12 rebounds in five different games, more than any other African player in the World Cup Qualifiers history. By making 41 of his 56 field-goal attempts, the Real Madrid bigman also had the best percentage (73) among the 309 players with 50+ field-goal attempted in the World Cup 2023 Qualifiers across all FIBA regions.
Walter Tavares was a constant threat to opponents on both ends of the floor
Still lower than Nigeria's 89.5 points per game in the 2019 edition of the African Qualifiers, South Sudan led all teams in scoring with an average of 78.6 points per game en route to qualifying for the Asian showpiece later this year. Interestingly enough, South Sudan were the only team across all FIBA regions to win four games despite trailing at half-time.