Follow FIBA on Facebook
Cape Verde becomes first team to qualify for 2021 Women's AfroBasket
CONAKRY (Guinea) - It was sheer ecstasy for the Cape Verde in Conakry over the weekend as they battled their way to become the first team to qualify for the 2021 FIBA Women's AfroBasket.
Despite losing by a slim margin of 65-64 points in the first game against host Guinea, Cape Verde did not give up on their dream of making a return to the Final Round of a FIBA Women's AfroBasket.
On Sunday, the islanders took Conakry by a storm beating Guinea 68-59. Cape Verde closed the two-game series with a 132-124 win on aggregate.
The women's continental basketball showpiece is set to be held from September 17-26, 2021 at the Yaounde Multipurpose Sports Complex in the Cameroonian capital.
Just like they did in the first game, Cape Verde began the decisive matchup on a strong note taking the first and second quarters 19-17 and 23-13 to end the first half with an advantage score of 42-30.
The hosts gave hope to their fans winning the third quarter 13-16 but the fourth quarter ended 13-13, dashing the hopes of Guinea that suffered lightning strike twice on the same occasion and sparking celebrations for the Jade Leitao-captained Cape Verde team as they headed straight to the airport to enjoy the moment at home.
Leitao before the Zone 2 Qualifiers had said that Cape Verde would live nothing to chance and she kept to her words to ensure qualification for her side.
"It's celebration all the way for us. Playing against Guinea is never been easy especially on their home court," she said.
With this qualification, Cape Verde will be making their fifth Final Round appearance having participated in 2005, 2007, 2013 and 2019.
In their last two appearances, they have kept a constant 9th place finish which they will strive to better in Cameroon.
"OUR GOAL IS TO PLAY AS MANY GAMES AS POSSIBLE IN THE FINAL ROUND OF THE AFROBASKET."
Cape Verde winner of the Zone 2 Qualifiers join host Cameroon, and quartet Nigeria, Mali, Senegal and Mozambique who qualified b y virtue of reaching the 2019 FIBA Women's AfroBasket Semi-Final.
Head Coach of the Cape Verde women's team, Antonio Moreira said: "Well, our goal is to play as many games as possible in the Final Round of the AfroBasket. That means we want to move on from the Group Phase and create the opportunity to finish higher than we have before."
President of Cape Verde Basketball Federation, Mario Correia, paid tribute to the team, noting that "The team deserves commendation but this qualification is nothing yet. As a federation, there's still a lot of work to be done."