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Senegalese Astou Traore at Afrobasket 2017. Courtesy of FIBA

Senegal's women's basketball team hosts the African Nations Championship (Afrobasket 2019), August 10-18 in Diamniadio, near Dakar. This is a golden opportunity for the Senegalese to become queen of the continent after losing to the Nigerians in the final of the Afrobasket 2017.

The 24th African Women's Basketball Nations Championship (Afrobasket 2019) qualifies neither for the World Cup nor for the Olympic Games. Just serves as a pre-selection for qualifying for the 2020 Olympics [1] .

This women's Afrobasket 2019 is nonetheless of crucial importance for the Senegal team. Because it will play this home tournament for the first time since 2007. And because it remains on a stinging defeat 48-65 in the final of the 2017 edition, against Nigeria.

A matter of supremacy

For the Senegalese women, who have won the tournament eleven times and finished 21 times (out of 23) on the podium, it's a matter of supremacy. Not to lift the trophy on August 10, in a Dakar Arena that hosts its first major tournament, would be a huge failure.

" We are playing at home and it will be a good opportunity to take advantage of it, but there will also be a lot of pressure because as hosts, we really want to win ," admitted their coach, Sheikh Sarr, at a conference. Press. There will also be positive pressure, popular enthusiasm, over-motivation of players and coaches. I think these elements will allow us to strengthen our ties. This is an important event .

A tough opposition

On their roads, the "Teranga Lionesses" will first find the Ivorians (August 10), then the Egyptian (August 13), two opponents they faced in a preparation tournament. " We know that Côte d'Ivoire and Egypt are regulars in the African Cup ," said Sheikh Sarr, at the microphone of our correspondent Babacar Fall. And then the formula of the tournament has changed. To win the trophy, you have to play five matches . Against eight at the Afrobasket 2017, for example. " It's intense and short. That's why we do not have time to sleep, "warns Sarr.

If they finish first in Group A, the Senegalese will save a pass through the play-offs - the equivalent of the knockout stages - and will be directly qualified for the quarterfinals of this women's Afrobasket 2019. But the rear Laila Wane invites to caution, at the microphone of Babacar Fall: " We must not underestimate any team. All teams have potential and there can be surprises with each opponent. We must arrive by respecting them and not feel superior. "

In fact, the opposition promises fierce, between Nigerian title holders who have reached the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup, Malian always formidable and who have a large pool of young talented players, Angolan women strong, and tough Mozambicans ...


[1] The top six teams in the 2019 Women's Afrobasket will qualify for an African Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament. The two best nations in this tournament will then take part in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Qualification Tournaments (TQO).