Mali defeated host, Cameroon 52-51 to reach the finals of the Women’s AfroBasket while the D’Tigeress of Nigeria subdued 11-time champions Senegal on a score of 73-63 to book the other prestigious space at the finals of the tournament in Yaounde.
Nigeria and Mali will clash at the finals in a purely West African style unfortunately as a home crowd in Cameroon watch them rival for the coveted trophy this Sunday, September 26, 2021 at the Yaounde Multipurpose Sports Complex.
The D’Tigeress of Nigeria ranked best basketball team in Africa will then throw weights with the third best in the continent, that is Mali according to recent rankings of FIBA.
Mali sets foot into the rectangular court this Sunday, September 26 as a one-time winner of the prestigious trophy in 2007 while Nigeria is defending champion and 4-time winners of the AfroBasket.
In case of a win, Nigeria will enter history as the second after Senegal to have won three straight titles , that is; 2017, 2019 and now 2021.
The two contenders are not meeting for the first time, both sides faced off in the Third-placed playoff of the 2011 Women’s AfroBasket in Bamako with Mali overpowering Nigeria 71-62.
Mali is the third-highest scoring side averaging 75.8 points and they top the rebounding chart with 54.5 boards per game.
The Olympic team of Nigeria finished top in Group B and leaves behind a clean sheet until now.
In their fierce battle with a big weight like Senegal, Mame-Marie Sy-Diop won the night and came out strong as the best scorer with 18 points and Nigerian Amy Okonkwo Amy came behind with 16 points while teammate Ify Ibekwe had 14.
When Nigeria picks on Mali at the finals, not only quality will be portrayed as the two teams have professionals on the list though Nigeria has stood out with defense that has paid off in blocks throughout the competition