The 30th African Men’s Basketball Championship, Afrobasket, kicks off this Tuesday, August 24 in Rwanda. Sixteen teams compete. Four years ago, during the latest edition, the Tunisians won. They are again challengers for the title but they are not the only ones. The tournament seems more open than ever.
Sixteen teams from the continent have won their tickets to participate in the group game and try to reach the final, which takes place on 5 September. Right now, it’s still difficult to identify a favorite. Nigerian basketball players could have worn this label, but the team in Kigali has nothing to do with the one who represented the continent, in Tokyo, at the Olympics a month ago. The stars stamped NBA did not come to Rwanda … Nigeria is still an optional client, African champion 2015 and finalist for the latest edition 2017, beaten by Tunisia who will once again count on a collective trying to retain their title.
The Senegalese, third in the last Afrobasket, also arrives with great ambition, carried by their ranks, Gorgui Dieng, who after Minnesota Memphis and San Antonio has just registered with the Atlanta Hawks.
Angola, eleven times African champions – the last in 2013 – will surely have their say.
Ivorians, kings of the continent in 1981 and 1985, dream of regaining their former level. And do not underestimate Rwandan basketball players. In a Kigali Arena that promises to be hot, they can very well play spoilers.
The first matches of this Afrobasket, on Tuesday, in Kigali: Tunisia / Guinea and the Central African Republic / Egypt, in Group B, and in the evening, Group A, Rwanda / DRC and Angola / CapVert.
We have set up a Covid test center for people who want to participate in games.
Jabo Landry, general coordinator for Afrobasket, is happy to be able to welcome more audiences than in May …
■ In South Africa, basketball is becoming more and more popular The competition can inspire unqualified countries, such as South Africa, where the NBA has set up its offices, to invest more in the sport. Although within the rainbow nation, football is by far the most popular sport in the townships and the weak national structures hinder the development of basketball, the taste for this sport is gradually contagious. Thanks to some enthusiasts like our correspondent in Johannesburg, Claire Bargelès met.
Six years ago, Masonwabe Mene walked past the multicolored courts of the Soweto Basketball Academy and began to make some dribbles. Since then, the 16-year-old can not stop: “I come here every day, even when I have no planned training, to be sure to work with my technology. The basketball culture is growing slowly. My friends, outside, also follow NBA players. Little by little, it starts to become a cool sport. “
The academy, created in 2013, educates more than 200 young people from Soweto. Monwabisi Dlamini, better known as Coach Mo, is one of its founders: “I come from this area and when I was little there was no basketball at all. I started playing when I was 18 and realized that it was far too late to play at a high level. That’s why I started this academy, so it does not happen again for other young people. ”
Kamohelo Raphoto has already been selected for the national team for 18 years and the development of basketball on the continent in recent years encourages him to continue: “When I played for the national team, I saw other African basketball players. I saw their technology, their strength and how they developed. So in South Africa we try to convince the other girls that we can do it too and that we can play like these other African countries. ”
Coach Mo dreams of seeing the new generation put South Africa on the basketball map within 10 to 15 years.