25 August, 2023
10 September
4 Ehab Amin (EGY), 50 Assem Marei (EGY), 44 Omar Hussein (EGY)
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This time for Africa: Who gets the Olympic ticket?

MANILA (Philippines) - Five African teams showed they can compete. Five African teams got at least a win in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. Five African teams will fight for just one Olympic ticket.

Before Saturday's action tips off, here's a look at the standings of the African teams:

#1 Egypt 2-2 (+3) - 1st place in Group M
#2 South Sudan 2-2 (+2) - 1st place in Group N
#3 Angola 1-3 (-19) - 3rd place in Group M
#4 Cote d'Ivoire 1-3 (-50) - 3rd place in Group P
#5 Cape Verde 1-3 (-57) - 3rd place in Group O

Cape Verde will take on Japan in Okinawa in the evening's part of the program. By then, they will already know the plot, because all the others are playing in the earlier parts of day, including Cote d'Ivoire who have the toughest assignment, facing France in Jakarta.

Neither Cape Verde nor Cote d'Ivoire will surrender beforehand, although they are underdogs both in their matchups and in the hunt for the top African spot in the World Cup.

"We are pursuing our goal and we are going to do our best to try and win," Cape Verde coach Emanuel Trovoada kept it short and simple.

"These teams from Africa, they fight very much just to get here. For us, this is a success to be here, we're very proud. We showed some good basketball, and I don't see such a big difference (between African and other teams)," Cote d'Ivoire's playcaller Dejan Prokic offered a wider picture.

But with Cote d'Ivoire and Cape Verde in tough positions, all eyes will be on Manila.

The day starts with Angola and South Sudan in the Araneta Coliseum, while the game between Egypt and New Zealand tips off some 15 kilometers to the southwest in the Mall of Asia Arena.

Egypt have the driver's seat. They won their game against Jordan 85-69, the final score being set by a buzzer beating three-pointer by Amr Zahran. That moment could be crucial, as it put Egypt ahead on goal difference by one against South Sudan.

"Crucial? I don't know how crucial it might be. All that I can say is that I'm proud we kept going until the buzzer went off. And that's what you have to do in this scenario. It went in, it's great. Will it make a difference? You never know. But our intention was the right one," Egypt coach Roy Rana said.

Egypt haven't been to the Olympics since 1988, and they haven't won an Olympic basketball game since 1952. South Sudan are searching for their first ever appearance at the Olympic Games.

"I have no expectations for that game, because expectations lead to disappointment," South Sudan coach Royal Ivey went deep. "We're gonna come out here and give it our best shot, play South Sudan ball. Let the cards fall where they fall, our style versus their style. My guys are not content, we want more."

The most basic math would be if only one of Egypt or South Sudan won, because then only one African team would be at 3-2.


But what happens if they both lose? The doors open for Angola, who would also get to 2-3 and finish about South Sudan if a few things go their way in other games. 

While they will be underdogs, it's not impossible to get back to their "flagbearer of the continent" status and book a trip to their first Olympics since 2008.

"It's clear that the other teams are chasing us, but this is not our battle. Our battle is to develop, get better and try to see that our players continue to compete at the highest level in the near future. If we are lucky to qualify for the Olympics, it's going to be very important for the future of our basketball, too," Angola coach Jose Claros Canals tried easing the pressure.

Five teams. One ticket. Who is going to take it?