Maurice Ndour talked about the goals of Senegal in the 2019 Basketball World Cup as well as his role in the squad.
Here is what the big man of Valencia told FIBA:
On the preparation of Senegal ahead of the World Cup: “Despite some challenges we have been through in the past couple of weeks, we are in good spirits individually and I feel that everybody on our team is ready for the tournament to start.”
On Senegal facing Lithuania, Australia and Canada in the group stage: “Everybody knows that this is the toughest group in the entire tournament, but we’ll focus on producing our best performances.
We are used to being counted out by other teams and we are used to being the underdogs. We have been in this situation before, but other teams will need to be better than us on the court.
I am sure those games will go down to the wire. At the end of the day we are all professional basketball players, the rankings don’t matter. Canada, Australia and Lithuania are incredibly good teams.”
On the national team’s goals in the tournament: “We are a group of 12 competitors and that includes a few young guys who haven’t played at the World Cup before.
And for the youngsters on the team they will have a lot to learn from this World Cup, which will prepare them for next big tournaments such as the 2021 African Championship or Olympic Games.
In the back of our minds we all want to have a good tournament, go as far as we can. We don’t promise the Semi-Final, but we are going to do everything in our power to finish as one of the top teams in the World Cup and, obviously, we want to continue that in the Olympics next year.”
On becoming the captain of Senegal: “My role as the national team captain is quite significant but it will be even more when I will be able to change things.
I want to help the players focus and perform better by working towards putting them in the best conditions. People tend to perform when they are working in happy, stable and stress free environment.
It’s not the two-hours practice that’s important, but it’s how you approach practice and the things you do to get your body and mind ready for it. Same goes as a team.”