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22 November, 2021
28 February, 2023
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What we learned from the first window of World Cup African Qualifiers


BENGUELA (Angola) - The Angolan city of Benguela witnessed some of the best African basketball can offer during the first window of the of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 African Qualifiers.

For three days, there was a little bit of everything. From shocking results, stellar performances to unexpected comebacks, the first eight teams to enter the race for the five tickets on offer for African teams for the World Cup 2023, gave it all.

What did we learn from the first window of the African Qualifiers?

We learned that Cote d'Ivoire not only took the lead of Group C after beating host Angola, Central African Republic and Guinea, but the Elephants remain the only undefeated team in the tournament with a 3-0.


The Elephants of Cote d'Ivoire demonstrated a tremendous tenacity and combative spirit after a poor start in the opening game against the home team. 

Angola kept Cote d'Ivoire scoreless for the first seven minutes of the game while using a 16-0 run, but Ignacio Lezcano's men regrouped in time to change the course of events and seal the 57-56 victory, which remains as the closest score so far.  

Cote d'Ivoire entered the history books by becoming the first team to beat Angola in Angola, an unthinkable event back in 1990s and early 2000s.

Benguela fans showed up in big numbers in support of their heroes, and the only way for the former African champions to appreciate their fans was to win the remaining two games, and Josep Claros' team did just that.

Angola will head to the third window of the African Qualifiers in June-July sitting in second place of Group C with a 2-1 record after beating Guinea (75-59) and Central African Republic 78-48 [the biggest winning margin in the competition so far].

Guinea's progress over the past few months seems to have no limits.

After losing all their six games in the World Cup African Qualifiers 2019, Guinea, who reached the AfroBasket Quarter-Finals for the first time three months ago in Rwanda, looked a solid team as they upset CAF 76-71 in the opener of Group C on Friday. 

Guinea duo of Shannon Evans and Mohamed Queta played a huge role  throughout the three-day event, averaging team-highs 19 and 17 points, respectively.

Shannon Evans sparked Guinea to a 1-2 in the first window of the World Cup African Qualifiers

Guinea sit third in their group with a 1-2, while CAF return home with three losses in as many games.

Meanwhile, the race in Group A is widely open as all four teams registered at least one loss, but Cape Verde who shocked Nigeria, the No.1 team in Africa in first game of the tournament in Benguela, sit fourth with 1-2 while D'Tigers took the group lead after beating Uganda 95-69 in the last game of first window of the African Qualifiers.

Mali had a poor AfroBasket 2021 campaign after failing to win a single game (0-3), but they look a lot better team now. Mali lost to Nigeria in the waning seconds of the game, but wins over Uganda and Cape Verde help them improve to 2-1 and share the top of the group with Nigeria. Uganda sit third.

At the end of the first window of the World Cup African Qualifiers, Cote d'Ivoire (3-0) and CAF (0-3) sit on opposing sides of the standings.

Click here to see the standings.