Magali Mendy ready to claim continental title with Senegal
DAKAR (AfroBasket Women 2015) - Senegal wants to play again leading role in the African Basketball. For this purpose, Moustapha Gaye, the head-coach of the Lionesses, is building an army ahead to AfroBasket Women 2015.
While most of the players have already participated in many competitions with Senegal (including AfroBasket 2013 in Maputo), Magali Mendy will wear Senegal’s jersey for the first time of her young career this summer.
Originally from Orly in France, the 24-year-old forward is shortlisted among the 20 players that will take part in the national team’s preparation which will start by this month of May.
"It is a pride to represent the country of my parents, my country. This is something that is not given to everyone. If I can wear this jersey, I will not refuse it" she said to fiba.com.
Of the Senegal national team - 10 times winner AfroBasket Women - Magali was thinking about for several years.
" It is for a while that I had in mind to join the selection. I wanted to live a different experience, of that in club", the 1.75m player said.
It is the well-known Mame Marie Sy, key player of the national team, who directed her in this approach.
After a contact with Gaye, Magali will make her first appearance with the team during the training camp scheduled for the 11 May in Romania.
" He inquired about me, he watched videos and he was convinced, she reveals.
Mendy, who holds also a French passport should now prove that she deserve a place among the 12 players who will represent Senegal at AfroBasket Women 2015.
"It is a pride to represent the country of my parents, my country.- Mendy
Gaye, who won the AfroBasket Women 2009 with Senegal, has big ambitions for the competition which will take place from 24 September - 3 October in Yaounde, Cameroon.
"He clearly wants to win the title at the AfroBasket women" Magali explains.
Before joining the group in Romania for the first training camp, it is with the french club Chartres in the LF2 that Magali ended the season. "The season was complicated for me and my team. We had a lot of injured players but we achieved good result. "
Early this season, Magali was injured and had periods of doubt: "I resumed - Competition - until November due to a ligament pain. I was physically diminished. I didn’t know if I could be ready and give all my best."
Now she is in full possession of her means and ready to challenge the other African countries in September at the AfroBasket Women, which will serves as qualifiers for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
With her big defensive qualities and strength in driving, Mendy could be one of the new offensive arms of Senegal.
But she will first have to adapt herself quickly and make some adjustments, "I don’t know anything about the Senegalese basketball," she admits.
"Mame - (Marie Sy) - guided me, she explained that it is very different in the game, for example, all the foul and violation are not whistled".
During the training camp, Magali will meet well-known faces who evolve in France including Astou Traore, Aida Fall, Bintou Dieme-Marizy or Mame Marie Sy.
It will be the opportunity for her to show her abilities before starting this new adventure.