The FIBA 2021 AfroBasket Qualifiers starts this Friday, February 21, 2020 Yaounde – the capital of Cameroon, with Cameroon to host the first-leg of Group C to run from this Friday, February 21 until Sunday 23.
Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Equatorial Guinea are the teams to compete in the first window of the Qualifiers while the remaining sixteen will not get started until November 2020.
In the build-up to the four-team Qualifiers in Yaounde, contestants have been revising winning strategies and holding press conferences amongst other things.
The hosts, Cameroon returns to its hub, the Yaounde Multipurpose Sports Complex for the the first time since November 2017 when they finished second in Group A of the FIBA Basketball World Cup African Qualifiers.
Players to watch
Cameroon will enter the court without biggest names like NBA All-Stars Joel Embiid and Pascal Siakam, but they will not be short of talent.
An experienced trio of the recent times, Kenneth Kadji, Arnaud Adala Moto, and Benoit Mbala are expected to play a major role in a team coached by Gilles Bouwe.
The Basketball Lions of Cameroon has not missed a FIBA AfroBasket since 2007, when they finished runners-up after edging the then hosts Angola.
Playing at home may seem a little comfortable and easy for Cameroon but Cote d’Ivoire may prove a hurdle to overcome.
The visiting West African state is currently ranked 5th in Africa above all Group C opponents according to FIBA’s latest World Rankings.
The well known basketball nation summoned nine of the twelve players who featured at FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China.
In other to reinforce the squad, Cote D’Ivoirw signed up Spaniard Natxo Lezkano as head coach, and according to small forward, Stephane Konate, they head to Yaounde with a clear goal of winning as many games as possible.
Comparatively, the last meeting between the Ivorians and Cameroonians dates back to 2013 FIBA AfroBasket, during which the host, Cote d’Ivoire prevailed 71-56 in Quarter-Finals.
Guinea arrives in Yaounde as the most familiar team to Cameroon, having registered a 0-3 record in the head-to-head, dating back to the FIBA AfroBasket 2017 co-hosted by Tunisia and Senegal.
She enters the competition trying to qualify for the Final Round of FIBA Africa’s most important basketball event for the very first time.
While Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea qualified by virtue of taking part at the FIBA Basketball World Cup African Qualifiers, Equatorial Guinea earned their ticket after finishing top of FIBA Africa Zone 4 Qualifiers in January 2020, in Malabo.
#Central African Republic
In each group, the teams will play two tournaments that will take place in three international windows.
Groups A, C, and E will play from February 17-25, 2020 with the other two starting their campaign in the next window from November 23 – December 1, 2020, at venues yet to be determined.
— FIBA AfroBasket (@AfroBasket) February 20, 2020
All the five groups will then play in the Final Phase from February 15-23, 2021 with the top three teams from each group over the two legs qualifying automatically to the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 to be held in Rwanda.
1) Guinea # Cote d’Ivoire
( Yaounde Multipurpose Sports Complex)
Time: 2:30 pm ( GMT +1)
2) Cameroon # Equatorial Guinea
(Yaounde Multipurpose Sports Complex)
Time : 5 pm (GMT +1)