Stephane LasmeHi guys. Here comes the newest installment of the “Focus on Africa”-series.

We start off with the FIBA Africa zonal qualifiers for “Libya 2009” (African Championships):

In Zone 6, Mozambique snatched the last ticket (Angola already qualified as the title-holder) available by beating out South Africa and Zimbabwe.

It’s pretty disappointing for the South Africans as it looked like the country put a lot of energy to run a competitive league and to aim for professional structures within the federation.

Angola’s national-team is going to announce a “new” head-coach soon. The decision will be made between previous coach Alberto de Carvalho and Luis Magalhaes (Primero Agosto).

The Zone 4 moved its qualifiers from Gabon to the Central African Republic. Only one country out of this zone is going to qualify (Cameroon is automatically qualified after coming in second in the last championships), and the Central Africans are currently practicing hard in France to clinch the ticket for Libya. They are facing tough opponents in Gabon, Chad, Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mali is going to host the qualifiers for Zone 2 in Bamako, and will be having a hard time to beat Senegal and Guinea-Conakry for the remaining ticket (Cape Verde as the third placed team in the championships is also qualified).

Senegal called off the preparation phase in Lille, France and will be holding its camp in Dakar from the 4th until the 14th of May (16 players have been called up) to jet off for Mali where the qualifiers start on the 15th.

In Zone 1, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia are battling for one ticket to Libya. In the past, all three teams usually made their way to the African Championships, so for two of the countries, a failure is unacceptable.

Nigeria and the Ivory Coast booked tickets earlier in Zone 3 while Egypt and Rwanda did the same in Zone 5. The Zone 7 is not going to play out a contender for the title, which left a ticket for a runner-up in of the other zones.

Qualified for Libya are: Angola, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Libya, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Rwanda and Mozambique. My predictions for the remaining spots are Senegal, Central African Republic and Tunisia.

Nigeria is searching for a new head coach for the “D’Tigers”. Take a look which coaches are in the mix.

There will also be a try-out camp for players based in the US which will be led by San Antonio Spur Ime Udoka. The camp will be conducted in Washington D.C. starting the 26th of June and ending on the 30th.

Udoka mentioned the possibility of adding Ike Diogu (Portland) to the group while other prospects mentioned are Josh Akognon (Fullerton), Ben Uzoh (Tulsa) and Kingsley Oguchi (South Carolina).

The Ivory Coast appointed a new head coach.

African players in Europe:


Gabonese Stephane Lasme won the Adriatic League Championship with Partizan Belgrade and contributed with 11 points and six boards. Up next is the national championship in Serbia which should be also easily taken by Partizan.

Sitapha Savane (Gran Canaria) scored 13 points in a 76-66 loss while fellow Senegalese Boniface N’dong (Malaga) scored only four points in a heavy 88-67 rout against Manresa who had Congolese Serge Ibaka on the court, who netted in 10points and pulled six rebounds.

Eritrean Thomas Kelati (Malaga) recorded 13 points and three steals in the same game.

In Italy, Senegalese Pape Sow (Milano) poured in 11 points in an 83-68 winner over Treviso. Nigerian center Deji Akindele scored 14 points, pulled eight rebounds and blocked five shots but it wasn’t enough as Pesaro fell 88-74 to GMAC Bologna. Fellow Nigerian Ndudi Ebi clicked in 10 points and grabbed nine boards to lead Ferrara to a 93-84 win over La Fortezza Bologna. Siena routinely won 91-75 against Caserta behind 11 points from Romain Sato (Central African Republic) and 10 points off Ben Eze (Nigeria).

In France, Nancy beats Vichy 79-64 thanks to 11 points of Victor Samnick (Cameroon).Akin Akingbala (Nigeria) scored another six points for Nancy as well.

Senegalese veteran Cheikhou Thioune netted 23 points in his Rouen’s83-97 loss to Roanne who had 10 rebounds and four points off Uche Nsonwu-Amadi (Nigeria).

Stephane Pelle is top-scoring for Aalstar in Belgium and clinched another 18 points in a 90-77 loss to Gent. Nigerian Ben Ebong contributed with 17 points and six rebounds in a 113-83 rout against Pepinster.

Oldenburg’s Rouben Boumtje Boumtje (Cameroon) drained in 10 points and grabbed nine boards in a 76-86 loss to the Artland Dragons.
Ansu Sesay (Sierra Leone) poured in 10 points and pulled 12 rebounds in Alba Berlin’s 80-77 winner over Tübingen.

In Latin America:

Ebi Ere (Nigeria) scored 22 points for Carolina in the Puerto Rican BSN.They routed Arecibo 95-71 on the second game-day of the league.

In the US:

At the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (A NBA Pre-Draft Tournament), several African players left their mark: Alade Aminu, who is half-Nigerian,  scored 16,0 ppg and pulled 9 rpg and should be having an outside chance to get drafted.
Nigerian national team-guard Josh Akognon led all players in assists (6,7) while scoring 9,3 ppg. He may end up in Europe or the D-League.

Alfred Aboya (Cameroon) and Bamba Fall (Senegal) played minor roles in the tournament and are most likely heading to Europe soon.

Nigerian-Jamaican Weyinmi Efejuku had a solid outing at the P.I.T. which may helps him to get to the D-League. If not an option, he may be headed overseas as well.

In Africa:

The Tunisian Champion will be crowned soon. Reigning champs Stade Nabeulin took home game one against ES Sahel by trouncing them 74-64.Game two now will be played in Nabeul and it looks like Stade is going to take another time the championship of Tunisia…

In Algeria, the quarter-finals of the Algerian Cup has been played, here are the results:
AB Skikda – GS Petroliers 68-82
ASPTT Alger – CRM Birkhadem 75-57
WB Ain-Benian – NA Hussein-Dey 71-57
WA Boufarik – CRB Dar-El-Beida 77-81

Four teams of the first division advanced and favorites Petroliers should at least make it to the finals here.

In the meanwhile, the Algerian junior national-team lost 43-59 to Serbia in the finals of the international cadet tournament in Martigues, France.
After beating Podgorica (Montenegro) 42-39, Palnaga (Lithuania) 35-31, Martigues (33-20) and Andorra 36-15 in the semis, the cadets lost to a better Serbian team but the future looks promising to Algeria. The team now sets it focus on the qualifiers in May in Libya for the African Championships for Cadets in Mozambique.

AS Sale won the “Coupe du Trone” (National Cup) in a hard-fought game (70-58) over Moghreb Fes. It’s the third time ASS took home the cup which 2009 final was played in Rabat.

The quarter-finals in Senegal are on:
AS Douanes – Police 81-57
HLM – DUC 76-63
JA – UGB 68-60
Goree – Rail 54-48

In the Cup St.Michel (National Cup), Douanes prevailed over Bopp by trouncing them 62-50 to meet DUC in the final who edged ASFA 64-53 earlier.

Al Nasser in Libya won the national championship after beating Al Ahli 76-59 in the finals. Al Nasser has been the most consistent team in the league, loosing only two out of twenty games this season and deserved therefore to be crowned champions.

That’s all for this time, check back for another episode of the Focus on Africa here on!

I’m out like Zone 7 countries…