13 Stephane LASME (Gabon)
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Gabon hails successful return to top level continental basketball

LIBREVILLE - Gabon have ended a decade-long absence from top FIBA Africa competitions with some encouraging results.

Both women and men's teams had last competed on Africa's biggest stage in 2005, but they closed out this summer with a sense of accomplishment.

And, last week, the Gabon Basketball Federation (FGBB) paid tribute to both teams' efforts in the capital Libreville.

At AfroBasket Women 2015 held in the neighbouring Cameroon's capital city of Yaounde, Gabon started off with two wins in a row and closed their campaign by beating Egypt to finish seventh in the 12-team competition.

Geraldine Robert (GAB)

Geraldine Robert, who has made a name for herself with an impressive professional career in Europe, came all the way from France to join Tania Angue and Grace Mbaikoua and help the Gabonese accomplish their best result in the tournament history.

They returned home with a 3-5 mark and are hopeful of remaining among Africa's elite.

As for the country's men's team, their participation at AfroBasket 2015 marked their return to the region's flagship event.

Although they finished with a 1-6 record, the fact that they beat Cape Verde in the Round of 16 to reach the Quarter-Finals, certainly turned their fortunes around.

Euroleague star Stephane Lasme joined a group a youngster including Therence Mayimba and Lerry Mve to help them finish eighth.

Yvon Patrick Medoua Nze, who took over as chairman of FGBB a couple of years ago, hailed both teams performances and pointed to this moment as the beginning of a new era in Gabon’s basketball.

Jason Reteno (GAB)

In the tribute ceremony, veteran Jason Reteno - one of the few members of the team that competed at AfroBasket 2005 - was awarded his coaching certificate.

"We achieved the best result in the history of Gabonese basketball," Medouza Nze told the local press.

"Without preparation, without great means, to get to this point it was a great accomplishment."