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Author Topic: § African Tournaments, News, Stories & Events • Competencias, Noticias, Historias & Eventos del Baloncesto Africano  (Read 143793 times)
Posts: 93

« Reply #5 on: Apr 12, 2012, 09:45:38 AM »

African Basketball News &  Events • Noticias & Eventos del Baloncesto Africano

Two of seven only compete in U18 Zone IV qualifier

If you ever wondered why some extraordinary African players compete at top basketball leagues around the world, but whose country of origin are low ranked internationally, I bring you an example of how and why it happens.
Firstly, a number of African players are so ambitious to fulfill a dream of playing professionally at high level that they do not fear their country's FIBA world ranking.  
By reaching top-flight clubs, they prove it is a matter of opportunity.
But most do not have the opportunity they dream of.  
For example, last week five Zone IV countries opted out of the qualifying for the FIBA Africa U18 for Men, due to either lack of sponsors or budget to travel to Kinshasa, where the event took place.
The FIBA Africa U18 for Men will be staged in Mozambique later this year.
Apart from Gabon that is already qualified, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, São Tomé e Príncipe, Chad and Equatorial Guinea did not take part at the qualifying tournament in DR Congo capital Kinshasa.
The event was due to last a week starting on 7 April.
Instead it will last two days.
RD Congo was left no chance but play the remainder Zone IV team, neighbouring Republic of Congo.
At the time of writing, both teams were expected to play each other in two games, and one of them would qualify to the finals of the U18 African championship.
This means that those missing countries will not be able to show their potential, and potentially affect young players´s hopes.
Until June, other African teams will play the qualifying U18 for Men, according to their zone schedule. But if teams keep withdrawing, the future of the game in the continent will be threatened.
And yet it will not be surprising if, in a few years time, we see some of those missing countries´players shining among top-leagues, as it happened in the recent past.
If we think of Bismack Biyombo and his round the world journey until he landed with his current club, the NBA Charlotte Bobcats. He played in Yemen, Spain before ending in the USA.
This case illustrates why good African players opt for representing other countries or simply playing abroad.
However, the most ambitious teams will take part at this year FIBA Africa U18 for Men in Mozambique.  
Of course federations may not be solo responsible for these circumstances, but when things are planned well in advance there should be no excuse to miss out a competition that enhances not only youth players’ prospective, but the promotion of the country itself.  
So, to find out the hidden talented, it will be necessary to wait until they represent another country or jump in a competitive league, raising the usual question. Where was he/she?
And the answer to this question should be, he/she sought and found the dream that many are prevented to, as it happened last week in Kinshasa.
Nevertheless with the race to secure a place at the FIBA Africa U18 for Men underway I asked Congolese Justine Irung, technical director of Zone IV, what is it like host a tournament with only two teams when they expected at least seven teams to take part.
“The level of competition is affected if there are no competitors,” she said.
“Only two teams competing are not good enough.
“In Central Africa our main difficult is lack of means for transportation.
"It is very hard to travel from one country to the other if one has not financial support to do it.
“It is not a simple process to travel, for instance, from Kinshasa [DR Congo] to Yaoundé [Cameroon]. It is too expensive.
“Solution is pushing for our government to support, at least, youth competition.
“Another solution could be some support from FIBA in order to facilitate teams to travel around our competition zones.
“Without sponsors, I do not see the game achieving high level of competitiveness, even though we have very athletic and good players. But if there is not a proper program in place, chances are these players will never reach their maximum potential,” the former player said.
Ironically, once their dream fulfilled, some neglected players return home and promote something they did not have.

For instance, Belgium international and former LA Lakers center Didier Mbenga runs a basketball college campus for young players in his native DR Congo.
“His programme is very helpful for our local schools and youth. He has provided equipments, basketballs and some support,” Irung said about her countryman naturalized Belgium.  
Perhaps the future of basketball should be handed to former players who have real passion for the game, in order to support an inspire future players.

Julio Chitunda from FIBA

Visit: The eBA Stats Group WITH YOU on Google PLUS
Posts: 102

« Reply #4 on: Mar 09, 2012, 07:09:13 AM »

African Basketball News &  Events • Noticias & Eventos del Baloncesto Africano

NCAA African Madness

March Madness is not just a US collegiate basketball matter. It is an international celebration of the game, especially with the rising number of players born outside the United States who take part.

Africa is no exception. More and more African-born prospect student-athletes have chosen to pursue their sport and educational careers on the other side of the Atlantic.
When, in a few days time, 68 collegiate teams from different conferences start competing for a place in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 Final Four, a large number of Africans will be involved in the process.
There are currently over 400 international student-athletes competing in Division I Men’s Basketball and 80 of them are from Africa, according to the NCAA.
However, this figure does not include athletes who hold dual-citizenship. For example, University of Texas point guard Myck Kabongo was born in DR Congo, but he represents Canada.
Africans make up the third largest group of international players competing in Division 1 behind Europeans (157 student-athletes) and North America (114 non-US).
They are followed by Australians (34), South Americans (20) and Asians (7).
Five years ago (2006-07), there were 424 international student-athletes competing in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball, and 88 of those players were from Africa.
Africans became madly attracted to the NCAA since international programmes such as Basketball without Borders (BWB) started campaigning and promoting education and sports outside the United States.
Cameroonian international and Milwaukee Bucks forward Luc Mbah a Moute is an example, as he joined the BWB in Johannesburg at the age of 16, before accepting an offer from the  University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) programme.
The recruitment process by US colleges outside the country has benefited not only the schools, but the players’ countries of origin.
These youths compete against the best prospect players in the world and benefit from learning with experienced head coaches, the best they can get.
What makes me really enthusiastic about the rising number of Africa-born players in the NCAA is the fact they are not just quantity. Instead, there is also quality among them.
Despite showing some limitations in his offensive game, Louisville University's Senegalese centre Gorgui Dieng is currently one of the top 10 blockers in the NCAA, with 3.2 swats per game.
Inspired by NBA African players such as Mbah a Moute, Bismack Biyombo, Serge Ibaka, DeSagana Diop and Christian Eyenga, the new generation of young African players find in the American universities the rare high-education and sports career that their native countries cannot offer.
Nigerian Ugo Okam, for instance, is pursuing his education at highly-rated Harvard University.
There are players from all corners of Africa, including from countries with low tradition in basketball - Ghana, Uganda and Chad are all represented in Division 1.
With 25 players, Nigeria is the most representative country, followed by Cameroon with 15. Senegal and Ivory Coast combine for 19 players.
South Africa, Chad and Sudan have three players each, followed by Egypt, Mali, Benin with two apiece, while Guinea-Conakry, Tunisia, Angola, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Uganda have one single representative.
I am not the only one advocating sport and education to youth players.
Ivory Coast international and Gonzaga University forward Guy Landry Edi agrees: “I believe they play in the NCAA because there is not better system in the whole world where you can play basketball at high level and follow your education at the same time. Especially Africa needs more educated people for the continent to advance. If basketball does not work or you get injured you have your education to be successful in life.”
New Mexico State University South African center Tshilidzi Nephawe is one of the 80 African student-athletes.
This is what his coach Marvin Menzies said when I asked him about the rising number of African players in the NCAA: “I think (it's) because they are talented. They bring great size and athleticism and discipline. I think all of the players that I’ve had the opportunity to recruit from Africa have also been very coachable. I think culturally they tend to be a self-disciplined and self-motivated type of player.”

Davidson University head coach Bob McKillop, who counts with Tunisian Youssef Mejri in his squad said: “Basketball has become a global game. The NCAA is filled with players from International backgrounds. This is also happening in the NBA as players from all continents can be found on rosters.”
If federations take considerably attention, some of these young players may be extremely useful at next year AfroBasket, to be staged in Ivory Coast.

Julio Chitunda from FIBA

Visit: The eBA Stats Group WITH YOU on Facebook !
Posts: 99

« Reply #3 on: Feb 01, 2012, 07:04:28 AM »

African Basketball News &  Events • Noticias & Eventos del Baloncesto Africano

Egyptian big kid seeks Minnesota success

The door is now open for Egyptian Assem Ahmed Marei to make the step up from being a prospect to an established player.

His high-level performance at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship in Latvia raised fans’ and scouts’ eyebrows, especially on the other side of the Atlantic at Minnesota State University where he has been practicing since arriving in the town of Mankato earlier this month.
Although no decision has been taken on his eligibility to play this season for the NCAA Division II team, there are many reasons to believe that he is going to be successful in the US.

For now, this 2.09m (6ft 10in) power forward just wants start playing and show that the Minnesota State Mavericks made the right choice in recruiting him, as he told me.

Does it sound arrogant? No, I don’t think so. It is determination.

In fact, no doubts should be raised about Assem’s potential.

Born in Cairo in June 1992, he learned the beauty of basketball at home, as his father, Ahmed Marei - a former Egypt international-turned engineer and basketball coach - taught him the first tricks of the game.

Assem, as he prefers to be called, confirmed his ability to play the game at successful Egyptian club Zamalek. He then helped Egypt win the U18 African title in 2010 in Rwanda and last year made his appearance on the world stage in Latvia before deciding that his dream of stardom did not end there.

His stats and his personality speak louder than anything else.
He is well aware that hard work and motivation to improve should be his utmost priority.
After exchanging a few e-mails with Minnesota Timberwolves assistant coach Bill Bayno, Assem was referred to Minnesota State University head coach Matthew Margenthaler.

The 19-year-old Egyptian “talented big-kid, by US standards” as Margenthaler called him led his country at the FIBA U19 World Championship with averages of 18.5 points and 12.2 rebounds. He dominated the boards throughout the tournament.
He ranked second in rebounding behind tournament MVP and top-scorer Lithuanian Jonas Valanciunas. Assem also finished as the tournament's third leading scorer behind Croatian Boris Barac.

In a game against new world champions Lithuania, he had game highs of 23 points and 19 rebounds. Eleven of those boards were on the offensive end. He dominated the painted area at both ends of the court.

Assem left the court with the feeling of an accomplished mission despite the 78-59 defeat.

Two days earlier, when everything indicated that Egypt was going to make it to the Quarter-Finals as they led by 10 against Croatia, Assem fouled out with five minutes to play. Things got bleak for Egypt as Croatia made the most of his absence and came from behind for an 83-81 win.

Egypt finished with just one win, but the Pharaohs’ refusal to lose was so impressive, that opponents certainly were made to remember Assem, Omar Mohamed and the rest of the team’s determination.

A month later, after his memorable display in Latvia, Assem showed no signs of tiredness as he represented his country at the Afrobasket 2011 in Madagascar.

As the youngest player on the senior squad, he played a total of 45 minutes over five games, averaging 2.6 points and 4.0 rebounds.

 Shifting from the North African weather to chilly Minnesota is not a problem for Assem.

“I came for a better education [in business] and to improve my basketball skills and possibly make it to the NBA,” he said.

“I had a lot of offers in Latvia and I decided to come to Minnesota State University because of their academic, sport program and interest in me. I am adapting well.”
The prospect of helping Egypt restore their international prestige is something Assem has on his mind.

The country last won an African title back in 1983 and three consecutive bronze medals came in 1999, 2001 and 2003. A podium place has eluded them for the past four editions of the Afrobasket.
“I want to give my contribution to my country whenever it is necessary, and, like my father, play in an Olympic tournament some day,” Assem continued.

Pat Monaghan, an assistant coach at Minnesota State University, shared his impressions of Assem.

“We expect him to make a big impact because of his ability around the basket," he said.

“He is practicing with us, and he is adapting well."

If family genes are passed on in sports, then surely Assem will represent Egypt at the Olympics sometime in his career just like his father did at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

Julio Chitunda from FIBA

Visit: The eBA Stats Group WITH YOU on Twitter !
Jr. Member
Posts: 201

« Reply #2 on: Aug 30, 2011, 06:31:12 AM »

African Basketball News &  Events • Noticias & Eventos del Baloncesto Africano

That Gonzaga Guy is good !

Guy Edi is making his international bow with Ivory Coast right now and judging from his performance against Rwanda on Wednesday at the Afrobasket in Madagascar, he has a very bright future.

Just 22, the Agboville-born player possesses a wide array of offensive skills.

He may just end up being an Olympian, either next year in London or in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

A 1.96m small forward at Gonzaga University in the United States, Edi led the Ivorians in a wonderful comeback against Rwanda on Wednesday that put the team in the Quarter-Finals.

The silver medal winners two years ago in Libya and participants at the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey trailed Rwanda for most of the game and needed a super performance in the last quarter to clinch an 80-72 victory.

At the break, Rwanda were in front 44-33 but Ivory Coast stepped up in the last quarter and went on a 7-0 run to claim a 65-62 advantage.

Edi buried a three-ball and hit a shot inside the arc while Mo Kone converted two precious free-throw opportunities in the spurt.

Rwanda, who were led by Kenneth Gasana's 30 points and four rebounds, managed to pull level three more times at 65-65, 67-67 and 69-69, but Ivory Coast ended up stretching their advantage with an 11-3 run to seal their presence in the last eight.

Edi drilled three shots from long range and ended up with a game-high 34 points.

The small forward who plays at the Gonzaga University in the United States hit all his seven attempts inside the arc.

He was, in a word, unstoppable.

After the game, Edi told his teammates had "encouraged" him "to keep shooting at the right time, that is what I did."

"We had a great comeback in the game," Edi said.

"As we became more focused, we were desperate to win that game."

Now what appears to be a classic confrontation at the Afrobasket is on the cards because in the Quarter-Finals, Ivory Coast will play Senegal.

The Senegalese, who beat defending champions Angola in the Preliminary Round, advanced after whipping Madagascar 92-75 on Wednesday night.

Senegal will start as favorites.

"We know Senegal very well as we have played a couple of friendly games against them," Edi said.

"We know their strengths and weaknesses.

"They have defeated Angola, but now it's a different stage.

"Whoever loses goes home.

"I don't think any team wants to go home early."

Edi, 22, has made quite an impact in his first Afrobasket.

He had 19 points in the team's opening victory over South Africa and now there is the 34-point explosion against Rwanda to tell the folks back in the USA about.

"This is my first African competition," he said.

"I have to say we are here to win, no disrespect to other teams, but we have a goal to accomplish."

Ivory Coast were put on notice early at the Afrobasket that nothing was going to be given to them.

They fell 82-75 to Egypt in their second outing and then 76-70 to heavyweights Cameroon.

The triumph over Rwanda, Edi is hoping, has put the team back on track.

It's not just the win against Rwanda that has put Edi in a good mood.

He says the tournament hosts Madagascar have done a wonderful job making sure the players have everything they need.

"The tournament is well organized," he said.

"We must give credit to Madagascar.

"Everything is done perfectly."

As for his aims, Edi has many.

When the Afrobasket is over, he will turn his attention back to the Zags - a college team in the American state of Washington that many a famous player has turned out for over the years.

John Stockton, who is in the Naismith Hall of Fame and played for the United States Dream Team at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, competed at Gonzaga as well as France national team big man Ronny Turiaf.

"My personal goal is to make it to the (NCAA) Final Four with my team," Edi said.

"This would be very exciting for all of us at Gonzaga."

The winners of the Afrobasket will qualify for the London Games.

"The Olympic Games is a dream of any athlete," Edi said.

"For we Ivorians, and with our country living that (political) instability, to make it to London 2012 would be a perfect present to our fans."

by Jeff Taylor from FIBA

Visit: The eBA Stats Group Channel on YouTube
Posts: 66

« Reply #1 on: Jul 15, 2011, 11:24:20 AM »

African Basketball News &  Events • Noticias & Eventos del Baloncesto Africano

Big-time hoops comes to Madagascar

Afrobasket 2011 - Basketball may not be the first game that comes to mind when sports is the topic of conversation on the African island nation of Madagascar.

But this summer, it certainly is.

The country is staging the Afrobasket from 17 to 28 August.

The Championship was supposed to be held in Ivory Coast but political instability in the country forced organisers to move the event and in April, Madagascar was confirmed as hosts.

While countries with rich traditions will show up at the Afrobasket like defending champions Angola, the team that will no doubt receive most of the support by spectators is Madagascar – a nation that has made just two previous appearances in the competition.

They will be hosts, but make no mistake that Madagascar will be underdogs.

They have won just two times and lost 10 in their Afrobasket history.

The two triumphs came on their debut appearance in 1972, when the Championship was held in Senegal.

That Madagascar team romped to a 95-68 victory over Mali and also hammered Nigeria, 105-73.

More recently, at the Afrobasket 2003 in Senegal, Madagascar went 0-6.

The man hoping to lead the islanders to new heights in basketball goes by the name of Angel Manzano Polo, a Spaniard who was only recently put in charge by the Madagascar Basketball Federation.

“I came to Madagascar as a tourist and I met a local basketball legend who invited me to give a lecture here,” the 46-year-old Manzano said to

“It has been a great experience as everything started very informally.

“I agreed to work in Madagascar as my wish is to develop the game here and take it to a higher level.”

While the likes of Angola, Nigeria, Senegal and Cameroon will have the pre-tournament aim of capturing the title to qualify for the London Games, Madagascar are more concerned about playing well and getting a win or two.

“We'll play well in order to win games, and I believe this can quite possibly happen,” Manzano said.

One look at the Madagascar team will suggest that it’s going to be a tall order for them every time out.

Many African nations have produced big, dominating low-post players in their history but Madagascar is not one of them.

“Malagasy people are traditionally short and my team is not much different," Manzano said.

The team will be made up primarily of players who compete in Madagascar.

“Our top players play official competition games for only two weeks per year,” the coach said.

“Players are not professionals.

"They have their own jobs.

"They play for the national team because they love basketball and their country.

“The vast majority of the players I am working with are home-based players.”

While the odds are stacked against them, there is nevertheless a mixture of hope and ambition in the federation.

There is also a lot of excitement being generated among the fans.

The 2011 Afrobasket is the most important tournament ever held in the country.

Manzano, who has worked in Spain with Fuenlabrada and with Real Madrid's second team in the past, is optimistic and excited, too.

But he is also cautious.

“We have to be realistic and not let our expectations get too high,” he said.

“We will play Nigeria, Mali and Mozambique.

"They are all very good teams.”

As for the team's preparations, Madagascar are  expected to travel to the Seychelles capital of Victoria in early August for the Indian Ocean Island Games.

In Victoria, they will take on The Comoros, Réunion and Mauritius.

Then, Manzano will return with the team for the biggest event in their lives.

He’d like nothing more than to remain in the country once the Afrobasket is over.

“I still have four months more on my contract,” he said, “but I would like to carry on working here.

“I want to stay longer.”

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