06 - 14
August 2016
7 Nabala Fofana (FRA)
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Fofana to carry the flag for France in Group D

UDINE (FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship 2016) – A new-look France team will take to the court in Udine looking for their sole survivor from 2015 in Nabala Fofana to lead them at this year’s edition of the FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship.

Her athleticism will be vital in laying a solid foundation for a team set to field eleven new faces. Fofana has already showcased her ability this year by taking the title of her country’s top rebounder at the FIBA U17 Women’s World Championship in Zaragoza – even though seven players were handed more court time. The other danger for France in what looks to be a wide open Group D are the likes of Paloma Wouts and Mathilde Peyregne, who can both put points on the board in a hurry.

Sweden won promotion last year, but that momentum might just be diluted by the fact they did it with an entirely 1999-born roster, meaning it will be a whole new line-up in Udine with no experience of competing at this level of competition. But the new crop could be about to crash onto the international scene with gusto after impressive preparation, which witnessed Klara Astrom and Moulyana Johnson Sidi Baba both impress.

Sara Majorosova helped Slovak Republic survive in 2015 in Matosinhos

There will be a weight of real pressure on Slovak Republic when they tip-off in Udine. That’s because they are heading towards the nightmare scenario of potentially seeing all three age categories relegated to Division B, with the U20 and U18 teams having already fallen through the dreaded trap door to the second tier.

Tasked with making sure it doesn't become three relegations will be Martina Machalova, who is likely to be the main source of firepower. Meanwhile 2015 returnee Sara Majorosova will also be important as she has experience of surviving the drop after helping her nation to survive in Matosinhos.

Croatia will only benefit from one player with previous experience, in the form of Mihaela Lazic. The guard was handed a healthy amount of court time at the event in Portugal last year as her nation successfully won a fight against relegation.