Africa’s bright basketball showcase

BOITUMELO RANTAO 

BASKETBALL’S eyes shifted to Africa as national teams gathered in Kigali, Rwanda for the 2021 FIBA AfroBasket qualifiers. The first phase of continental competition between Africa’s hopefuls gave a sneak peek to which teams have distinguished themselves as frontrunners for the title.

Nigeria’s head coach, Mike Brown is of the opinion that if the right things are put in place by African basketball federations, many teams can compete favourably with the best in the world.

Teams have commenced preparations for the third window of the qualifiers between February 19 – 21, 2021. 

Brown, who is on his maiden vague with the Nigerian National Men’s team, has highlighted Africa’s potential and said there are great African players in the NBA.  

Coach Brown was filled with jubilation at the conclusion of the second qualification window “The game of basketball in Africa is unique from the standpoint that every team you look at possesses the athleticism necessary for the game. Physically, they are there and we have a lot of physically gifted players. When you put all together and try to bring out maximum potential from each of these African teams, it is something that everybody is striving for.”

Nigeria remains Africa’s highest ranked team and are globally ranked 23rd. Brown has ambition’s to lift Africa through quality coaching and the correct structures. 

“Now, we just have to get a little bit organized, get more coaching, a little more structure and we can compete with the best around the world. Once that is done, I think basketball in Africa is going to improve tremendously” Coach Brown added. 

Nigeria will hope to maintain its unbeaten run on the continent when the qualifiers resume

Group A

Tunisia (3-0), Central African republic, DR Congo, Madagascar

Group B

Senegal (3-0), Angola, Kenya, Mozambique

Group C

Cote d’Ivoire (3-0), Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea

Group D

Nigeria (3-0), South Sudan, Mali, Rwanda*

Group E

Egypt (3-0), Uganda, Cape Verde, Morocco

* Qualified as hosts