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August 2019
Top 10 reasons to follow the FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2019
09/08/2019
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Top 10 reasons to follow the FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2019

DAKAR (Senegal) - Africa's women's top basketball competition is back, and twelve nations from all corners of the continent will do battle for the right to be crowned queens of Africa basketball in Dakar, Senegal.

The nine-day tournament, which takes place every two years, will start on Saturday, August 10 and teams are divided into four groups of three.

 Hosts Senegal, Egypt and Cote d'Ivoire will trade blows in Group A; Nigeria, Tunisia and Cameroon will compete in Group B, Group C will see Mali, Angola and DR Congo fight off, while Mozambique will go up against Cape Verde and Kenya in Group D.

Following an impressive rise of Africa's women's basketball in recent years, the world started to take notice, and here are the top ten reasons to follow the tournament.

CAN NIGERIA WIN BACK-TO-BACK?

The Nigerians shocked the world last year by becoming the first African country to qualify to the quarterfinals of a FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup. 

They arrived in Dakar with the most talented roster in the tournament.

However, the unanswered question is: 'Could Nigeria become the first team to win back-to-back African Championship titles since Angola in 2013?

Talent is great, but the Nigerians will need to bring their A game to deny title contenders Senegal, Mali, Mozambique and maybe Angola.

CAN SENEGAL BECOME FIRST HOSTS TO WIN THE TITLE IN MORE THAN A DECADE?

At first glance, Senegal appear in the pole position to reach the Championship game. They have one of the most entertaining and tireless crowds on the continent, the team has been experiencing a successful generational switch, and local basketball shareholders are making sure to make the tournament a party. Public transports have been made available to take fans from all corners of the capital city to the newly built Dakar Arena, located on the outskirts of Dakar.

 The team practised for over two months - including ten days in China - more than any team in the competition, however, Senegal will need to prove history wrong.

Not a single host country won the competition since Nigeria lifted the trophy in 2005. 

As hosts of the 2007 edition, Senegal were stunned by Mali. Two years later,  Senegal regained the crown in Madagascar. Angola travelled to Mali to win their first-ever African title in 2011 before they upset hosts Mozambique in 2013. Cameroon did everything right until they crashed out in the final against eventual champions Senegal in 2015.  

PLAYERS TO WATCH 

The list of talented players showing up their skills in Dakar is almost endless. In the most cases they are considered 'heart and soul' of their teams. And we picked a few that might make tremendous noise in Dakar.

 Evelyn Akhator, Ifunanya Ibekwe and Adaora Elonu (Nigeria), Astou Traore and Yacine Diop, (Senegal), Italee Lucas and Nadir Manuel (Angola), Leia Dongue and  Shanaya Pinto (Mozambique), Touty Gandega and Djeneba N'diaye (Mali) and Egypt's duo of Soraya Deghady and Menatalla Awad.

FANS

Get ready for the party. Senegalese and Malians fans have become some of the most enthusiasts and exuberant in African basketball. They chant, they dance, and more importantly, they embrace fair-play.

SURPRISING WINNER?

Angola, Nigeria, Mali, Senegal, DR Congo (as Zaire) have all won at least one Africa title. But will there be new winner this year? If not those five aforementioned countries, who else can enter the title battle?

Egypt and Cameroon have grown immensely in recent years, and Dakar 2019 might just be the year they join the winners list. Or maybe DR Congo? 

WHAT'S AT STAKE?

Unlike previous editions of the tournament, where the finalists would automatically qualify for the World Cup  or Olympics the following year, the teams that finish in the top six places in Dakar will qualify for the 2020 FIBA Women's Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament.

BATTLE OF COACHES

Senegalese Cheikh Sarr (Senegal), American Otis Hughley Jr (Nigeria), Angolan Apolinario Paquete (Angola), Frenchman Sylvain Lautie (Mali), Spaniard Julian Martinez Alman (Mozambique), have all respected track records, but no-one in the entire competition has ever won a FIBA Women's AfroBasket title.

MVP RACE

A number of players in the Dakar 2019 showpiece have proven MVP credentials. Two years ago, Astou Traore was named the tournament Most Valuable Player, while Evelyn Akhator, who played a major role in Nigeria's title race, was one of the tournament top performers.

They are here in Dakar, and will be joined by Lucas and Dongue - who both have lifted the trophy of the FIBA Women's Africa Champions Cup before.

NEWCOMERS

Over the years, a number of players have entered the competition relatively unknown, but end up super stars. And this year might not be different.

 Take Egypt's Soraya Deghady as an example. Although she was named to the All-Tournament team at 2012 U18 Championship, along with Tunisia's Houda Hamrouni and Senegal's Yacine Diop, it was in 2015 edition of the African Championship that she became a household name across Africa.

HOW TO WATCH THE GAMES?

All games will be broadcsted live on StarTimes Tv, and Livebasketball tv. Game Highlights will be available on FIBA's Youtube channel Click here.

FIBA