BasketballWelcome to my newest installment on, the “Focus on Africa”. I hope I can serve all readers with an insight on what’s currently going on in the African basketball scene, so let’s start with the upcoming African Championship-qualifiers which will be held throughout the continent.

According to, the head coach of Egypt, Serbian Zeljko Zecevic called up 16 players for the zonal qualifiers in Rwanda.
Veterans Wael Badr, Remy Gunady and Tarek Al-Ghannam are the leaders of the team, while the team features many young and upcoming players as well. Check out the list here.

Hosts Rwanda were hit by the injuries of Canada-based players Jonas Kayitankora and Thierry Kayitaba, but received confirmations to join the team by center Rob Thomson who is currently playing in Romania, and guard Hamza Ruhehamizigo who is studying at Concordia University in Canada.

Other overseas-based players called up are: Manix Aurianthal (Played recently in the PBL in Canada but was suspended for the remainder of the season), unknown players Eric Kaijuka and Wilfred Nyandwi who are based in the US and Mathieu Miller who is apparently playing in Europe.

Two players not in the mix are centers Joseph Muvuna and Fernand Rwanteli, who both are probably the future of Rwandan basketball.

Kenya named their provisional team for Kigali and included many experienced players like Cliff Ochieng, Dan Okwiri and South America-based star player Peter Kiganya. It has to be seen if Kenya will be able to beat zonal giants Egypt and hosts Rwanda in this regional tourney.

Uganda and Tanzania may miss the qualifiers due to lack of funds. Both federations are working on raising the much needed money for traveling, as a non-showing could result in sanctions and fines by FIBA Africa. It will be interesting to see, if countries like Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia are going to participate, while I would guess that Burundi will make it to Kigali without a doubt.

The Ivory Coast, led by its president Moise Kore, is already putting together its roster for the preparation-phase for Libya 2008.
Players that are currently playing overseas and on the provisional list are : Mohamed Koné (Roanne), Michael Toti (Rouen), Souleyman Diabaté (Dijon), Issefe Soumahoro (Strasbourg), Ali Traoré (ASVEL), Alain Koffi (Le Mans), Namory Meité (Paris-Levallois), Wilfried Aka (Paris-Levallois), Jonathan Ouégnin (Besançon) and Jean Yves Zahoui (Poitiers). Also included were Adolphe Coulibaly (Amherst, USA), Hervé Touré (Cantu) and Bass Yessoufou (As Sadd,Qatar).

But I can imagine, that other veterans will be asked as well. A player like Herve Lamizana or a prospect such as Vassy Banny could be included as well as local heroes Stephane Konate, Cedric Kouadio and Phillippe Koffi. Next in line for the future should be the likes of Patrick Gnagbo, Wilfried Koutouan and Serge Kouassi Konan, as they are all gaining currently valuable experience in Spain’s U-20 circuit.

Tunisia named their squad for the zonal qualifiers as well. The national team is compromised of thirteen players and Etoile du Sahel has even four players on the roster:

Omar Mouhli (Sahel)
Marouan Laghnej (Kairouan)
Nizar Knioua (Nabeul)
Marouane Lahmar (Tunis)
Mohamed Amine Maghrebi (Monastir)

Makrem Ben Romdhane (Sahel)
Atef Maoua (Kairouan)
Mohamed Hdidane (Nabeul)
Hichem Ezzahi (Tunis)

Hamdi Braa (Sahel)
Salah Mejri (Sahel)
Bechir Hdidane (Nabeul)
Mokthar Ghazaya (Rades)

No news from Senegal regarding the national team yet, but their Euroleague-stars like Boniface Ndong (Unicaja Malaga) and Pape Sow (Armani Milano) would be a huge boost for the team. Other big-time players include Sitapha Savane (Gran Canaria), Cheikhou Thioune (Rouen) and Maleye Ndoye (Le Mans) but it will be interesting to see if older players will be called up by Abdourrahmane Ndiaye as the team should begin through a restructuring process after the dismal performance at the last championships in Angola. The team has to go as well through the zonal qualifiers which will be held in Mali in May.

Meanwhile, in the local championship, the ninth round has been played and DUC bounced back from its first loss last week against Rail to rout Police by almost 20 points. Here are all the results:
DUC – Police (66-47)
USL – Douane (51-58)
UGB St.Louis – ASFA (65-63)
SLBC – Jaaraf Dakar (71-69)
Bopp – Rail Thies (68-83)
SIBAC – US Goree (58-64)
For more information on Senegalese basketball, visit

Check out this nice vid of Eritrean Thomas Kelati.
And finally for this issue, the “Ibaka Watch”:
Serge Ibaka, who was drafted last summer by Oklahoma City of the NBA is currently playing his first season in Spain’s ACB with Ricoh Manresa. Last Sunday, the native of Congo-Brazzaville inked 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a win over Murcia. Lately, he sees his playing time increasing which is a good sign for the rising star from Africa. He had a season-high 16 points and 15 rebounds two weeks ago, and with such performances, the 19-year old could be making a move after the season to a real title contender or even to the NBA if his buyout is not too high.

That’s all for this time, make sure that you check back for more on African hoops here on the blogger-section of!