After almost two weeks of memorable moments at the FIBA AfroBasket 2021, Tunisia culminated the tournament by being crowned champions.
Tunisia held off Cote d’Ivoire 78-75, finishing the tournament with a perfect 6-0 record.
They are the first team since Angola (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009) to win consecutive AfroBasket titles.
This is Tunisia’s third-ever AfroBasket title after also winning in 2011 and 2017.
“For us, obviously it’s a great achievement,” said head coach Dirk Bauermann. “We have an older group of players and I know how much it meant to them to win this championship. … Just really happy for my team and very happy for the Tunisian people. … These are difficult times and … we also came here to give the Tunisian people something to be happy about, to cheer about and I think we did that. That almost makes me just as happy as the fact that our guys go home with a gold medal around their necks.”
Salah Mejri, who briefly left the game after having his ankle stepped on, came back in and led Tunisia with 22 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
Michael Roll finished with 18 points, nine assists and three steals for Tunisia.
Playing in his final AfroBasket, 41-year-old Radhouane Slimane finished with six points and two rebounds.
Despite only leading for 1:46 and being down 11 points with less than two minutes to go, Cote d’Ivoire fought back to make it close, but just fell short.
Souleymane Diabate led Cote d’Ivoire with 20 points (6-of-16 from the field) in the losing effort.
Tunisia did a good job containing Cote d’Ivoire’s leading scorer Matt Costello, as he finished with nine points and eight rebounds.
It was the first game of the tournament where Costello scored in single-digits.
Cote d’Ivoire also had 41-year-old Stephane Konate play in his last AfroBasket.
He finished the game with eight points and three rebounds.
This second place 5-1 finish was Cote d’Ivoire’s best finish at an AfroBasket since they finished fourth in 2013.
In the third-place game that was played before the championship, Senegal took down Cape Verde 86-73.
Senegal’s Gorgui Dieng had a huge game, recording a double-double with 30 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, while shooting 10-of-18 from the field and 5-of-9 from three-point.
Walter Tavares once again led the way for Cape Verde with 18 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.
Senegal, who was 5-1, has now finished in third place in two consecutive AfroBaskets (2017, 2021) and three of the last four (2013, 2017, 2021).
The fourth-place finish was Cape Verde’s best performance (3-3) since they finished third in 2007.
The All-Star five of the tournament:
- Tunisia’s Makram Ben Romdhane (12.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.6 steals per game)
- Tunisia’s Omar Abada (12.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game)
- Cote d’Ivoire’s Matt Costello (16.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.8 steals and 2.2 blocks per game)
- Senegal’s Gorgui Dieng (20.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.8 blocks per game)
- Cape Verde’s Walter Tavares (16.8 points, 14.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 4.0 blocks per game)
Ben Romdhane was also named the MVP of the tournament.
“For me, the really important thing is to take the title to Tunisia … for me, I am very happy for the players more than the MVP,” said Ben Romdhane. “If you want this title, don’t think about your stats, don’t think about how many minutes you are playing. … We live like family and I believe this team, they deserve to be champions. So for me, it’s nothing to be MVP. I am very happy for some players who will leave the team with a gold medal. The gold generation, they deserve it.”