18 - 26
September 2021
10 Astou Traore (SEN)
to read

Semi-Final Preview: Nigeria vs Senegal; Cameroon vs Mali

YAOUNDE (Cameroon) - There will be a clash of titans when defending champions Nigeria come up against 11-time victors Senegal in a fixture that could be rightly termed as perhaps the most explosive in Women's basketball on the continent.

Senegal will be featuring in an astonishing fourteenth consecutive AfroBasket Semi-Final, having been part of the Final Four of the continent's bonanza since 1990.

Nigeria want to become only the second nation to win three straight AfroBasket crowns since Senegal dit in 1970s but to do that, they'll have to discard the Lionesses, the lone nations that's won the continental silverware for four successive editions.

Host Cameroon had their pound of flesh against Egypt, overpowering them 67-61 to confirm their spot in their first Semi-Final since the Women's AfroBasket 2015.

Cameroon will be gunning for a second appearance in the tournament's Final and the difference between them and that target is Mali, who have ensured they'll be playing in their third Semi-Final in a row in the continental event.


At the mere mention of this fixture every basketball diehard beams with joy and excitement because it could be seen as clash worthy of final.

Thrice in 2005, 2017 and 2019 these two basketballing greats faced off in the final of the AfroBasket with Nigeria always emerging top.

That three of Nigeria's four continental titles have been won against Senegal provides ammunition for a tempestuous fixture.

Friday's showdown in Yaounde will be the third time that both West African giants be gracing the semis and in the two previous outings at this stage in 1997 and 2011, the Senegalese left the court smiling while "D'Tigress" had to seek for solace in a third place playoff game.

To keep a clean slate, Coach Moustapha Gaye will turn to forward Yacine Diop who's been pacing her side with an interesting 15.3 points and 6.3 rebounds to ensure they maintain a 3-0 run.

The Senegalese pride themselves in having a roster of skilled players and veterans Oumoul Sarr and Mame Marie Sy who've both won a combined AfroBasket titles.

That should count for something especially as Oumoul Sarr is clinching six rebounds and 3.7 assists while 36-year old forward Mame Marie Sy is posting 11.3 points.

Nigeria have been a thorn to Senegal's flesh in the past five years, a reminder of their dwindling influence on the continental scene and they'll be hoping to pursue their enthralling run against their West African neighbors.

Nigeria are the fourth side with the most points per game averaging 74.7 points a game but it is with the three pointers that they've been dangerous.

The four-time African champions are shooting 31.7%, scoring 6.7 points ranking as the second best team beyond the arc.

Nigeria's to-go woman will be Ezinne Kalu.

The 2019 MVP has upped her game, shouldering the aspirations of her side with 15.3 points and providing a scintillating 4.7 assists a game for an efficiency of 18.3.

The last time Nigeria overpowered Senegal in the final of the 2019 AfroBasket, Kalu contributed 13 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists.

Senegal's quest will be preventing her from hitting top gear.


The "Lionesses" as Cameroon are referred to will be playing in their sixth semis, six years after their last appearance in the last four of the Women's AfroBasket.

The only player within Cameroon's cast of players to have played at this stage of the tournament is Ramses Lonlack who did so in 2013 and 2015.

Eight players within Cameroon will be experiencing the semis for the first time but the side's energy and drive on the court makes amends for its inexperience.

The "Lionesses" are second on the rebounding chart, picking up 52.7 rebounds per game with 19.3 on offense.

22-year old Dulcie Fankam is the face of Cameroon's resurgence averaging double doubles in three outings to ensure Cameroon are unbeaten in the tournament.

She's slotted in 11.7 points and 10 rebounds with 1.7 steals.

Cameroon's coach Ahmed Mbombo Njoya stressed that his team will have to hit top gear from tip-off and the outing against Mali will be the right avenue to display this.

Pick and roll but in more sophisticated manner will be an ideal way to describe Mali's high intensity play style.

The truth is Mali have been ruthless.

They topped Group D, thumping Tunisia 101-39 before edging Cote d'Ivoire 76-63 and going past Angola 74-53 in the Quarter-Finals.

The 2007 victors are the highest scoring side in the event, averaging 88.5 points and 13 steals per game.

Their guard Djeneba Ndiaye is shattering scoresheets scoring a tournament high 20.5 points per a game with significant support from towering center Mariam Coulibaly who has posted 13 points a game and 9 rebounds.

For Mali who finished third in 2017 and 2019, this is an all too familiar stage of the competition and it will be a major upset if they aren't in the final.