New record as Arena Dakar registers biggest crowd in African basketball history
DAKAR (Senegal) - The 15,000-seater Dakar Arena was too small for Sunday's final day of action of the 2019 FIBA Women's AfroBasket in the Senegalese capital city.
Known for their love for the game of basketball, Senegalese fans showed up in big numbers on Day 1 of the tournament in support of their heroes, and they made sure to establish a new record in African basketball by selling-out the newly-built venue on Sunday.
Senegalese fans on Sunday arrived many hours before the Championship Game, and by the time the Third-Place Game between Mali and Mozambique got underway, Dakar Arena was almost at its full capacity.
Despite Senegal's trouble to deny Nigeria in the title game, fans, who played a major role in Senegal's 4-1 record, celebrated the game in their own terms by singing, dancing, cheering and encouraging their team from start to finish.
The previous records for biggest crowd in African basketball belonged to Tunisia and Angola, whose venues (Salle Omnisport de Rades in Tunis and Arena Kilamba in Luanda) accommodated approximately 11,500 fans in each event in 2015 and 2017 respectively.
In Rades, in the outskirts of the capital Tunis, local and a few travelling fans saw Angola upset hosts Tunisia in the semifinal of the 2015 FIBA AfroBasket.
In Luanda, hosts Angola made the most of their fans to beat neighbours DR Congo in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup African Qualifiers in November 2017.