14 - 20
August 2023
7 Moustapha Diop (SEN), 7 Ibrahim Djambo (MLI)
to read

Semi-Finals Preview: Who is making the Final in Nigeria?

LAGOS (Nigeria) - The race for the only ticket on offer for African teams at the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament has reached a defining moment with Saturday's Semi-Finals in Lagos.

Six games into the tournament, and with hosts Nigeria out of the race for the a fourth straight Olympic appearance, it's down to Cameroon, Mali, Senegal and Guinea to  decide who will make it to the Final on Sunday, August 20. 

Here's everything you need to know about the two Semi-Finals.

Cameroon vs Mali 

The last time these two teams faced off in a 2015 FIBA AfroBasket clash in Tunisia, Cameroon prevailed 70-56

Cameroon are headed to the last four with a perfect 2-0 record thanks to wins over Guinea and Tunisia, but taking on high-flying Mali presents a tough challenge. Mali, meanwhile, are 1-1 ahead of the Semi-Finals after beating Nigeria - the number one team in Africa, according to the FIBA World Ranking presented by NIKE -, and pushing Senegal to the limit although they came up short 74-71 in the last two minutes of the game.

Cameroon and Mali are regular participants at FIBA Africa major competitions, but they last faced off almost eight years ago to the day in August, 2015 during the FIBA AfroBasket in Tunisia, where  Cameroon beat Mali 70-56 in Group C.

Key Matchups

There are many matchups to look forward to when Cameroon and Mali take to the hardwood on Saturday, but the Jeremiah Hill versus Mahamadou Kante is a must-watch. Hill has done a bit of everything for Cameroon so far in Lagos. From scoring to creating shooting opportunities for his teammates, 

In addition to playcaller Kaba Kante, Aliou Diarra and twin brothers Fousseyni and Hassan Drame are debuting for Mali men's team

Hill who last played for Basquet Girona in Spain's ACB, is the man Cameroon will need to be at his best to help them reach the Final. Kante, on the other hand, appears as Mali' floor general, who runs the team offense and defensively as his 9 points and 6 assists per game show.


Ever since Jeremiah Hill debuted for the Indomitable Lions during the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup African Qualifiers he has made a tremendous impact as Cameroon's primary playmaker.

Jeremiah Hill 

Hill's team-high of 20.5 points and 8 assists per game says it all about his role within Alfred Aboya's team.

Stats Don't Lie

Ahead of the Semi-Finals, Cameroon appear as the hottest offensive team as they have registered a tournament-high 93.5 points per game, while also registering the highest field-goal percentage among the six teams at 46.6%.

Did You Know:

Mali have never competed in a FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT). Cameroon did it in Athens in 2008.

Guinea vs Senegal

After beating Tunisia - the number two in Africa, according to FIBA World Ranking by Nike - it's legitimate to ask whether or not Guinea can repeat their success, this time against Senegal, the number three team in Africa.

Senegal remains as the highest-ranked team in the tournament after the premature departure of Nigeria and Tunisia

But Senegal have proven to be a tough team to beat, and they have shown no signs of slowing down in Lagos. Unlike Guinea who are headed to the Semi-Finals with a 1-1 record, Senegal are a flawless 2-0 thanks to wins over Nigeria and Mali. 

Senegal have showed tremendous character in the hard 74-71 win against Mali, which suggests how bad they want their first first Olympic ticket since the 1980.  Guinea, on the other hand, have shown they have multiple options to face whoever comes their way. And this became clear during their 95-86 win over Tunisia, where all three substitutes contributed one way or another to keep their 2024 Olympics dream alive.

Key Matchups

A head-to-head between Alpha Diallo and Brancou Badio is what makes this an unmissable game. These are two high-skilled players who ply their trade in France's PRO-A (Diallo) and Spain's ACB (Badio) have been the main reason their teams have reached this far.


Cheick Sekou Conde

Guinea's Big-Three of Cheick Sekou Conde, Apha Diallo and Alpha Kaba have all been vital throughout the Lagos showpiece, carrying their team in the toughest moments.

Stats Don't Lie

If Guinea are to stand a chance against Senegal they will need to reduce their 21.5 turnovers per game, and also be find a way to contain Senegal's rebounding ability.  But the good news for Guinea is their ability to score, since they currently lead the tournament leaders in field-goal percentage at 48.1.

Did You Know:

Guinea is one of the youngest teams in the tournament alongside Mali, with two teams having an average age of just 25..