Mali looking to continue on upward curve
BAMAKO (2016 FIBA U17 Women’s World Championship) – They may have momentum from their unbeaten run in Africa last year, but Mali will have to find a higher gear for the FIBA U17 Women’s World Championship.
While they posted a perfect unbeaten record en-route to the top of the podium at the 2015 FIBA Africa U16 Women’s Championship, it’s going to take an added effort to be competitive in Zaragoza.
The team will remain largely unchanged and that is reason for confidence ahead of what Mali might see as three enticing games against hosts Spain, newcomers Portugal and also Brazil in Group D.
|Mali roster for the 2016 FIBA U17 Women’s World Championship|
|Aissetou Coulibaly||Alima Gnere Dembele||Mariam Diabate||Rokia Doumbia|
|Mariam Drame||Nafatoumata Haidara||Salimatou Kourouma||Safiatou Mariko|
|Djeneba Sangare||Awa Sidibe||Mariam Traore||Natacha Traore|
There will be a big onus on Rokia Doumbia to inspire her country. The guard was the go-to option in Antananarivo last year and poured in more than 15 points per game, meaning she will be at the head of the opposing scouting reports.
There is also some genuine know-how of the global stage in the shape of Mariam Traore and Mariam Diabate, who are both preparing to step out at their second FIBA U17 Women’s World Championship after featuring during 2014 in the Czech Republic.
Those on the Mali danger-list will also include partners in the paint, Salimatou Kourouma and Awa Sidibe who will at least match the physicality of anyone they have to face.
Mali are looking to take a third consecutive win at the event, having won both in 2012 in Amsterdam and two years ago when they stunned Italy.