Focus on Africa #3

AfricaI thought I hit you with another update on African hoops as there is so much going on these days and I can’t leave you in the dark, so let’s start with the FIBA African Championships:

The Central African Republic is currently in France (Chartres) preparing for the Zone 4 qualifiers which are going to be in Bangui later this month. New head coach is Rodrigue M’Baye who is also directing the club-team Chalons-en-Champagne in the French Third Division (“Nationale 1”). New on the team is Mikael Mokongo, who played previously with the French junior-national teams and who changed his mind and is now representing the country of his birthplace instead. Only two players that are currently playing in Bangui were pre-selected but do not expect to see them on the final roster as the team is always composed of the best talent which is based obviously overseas, whether it’s the US or Europe.
The team is set to play Morocco in a friendly entire on the 12th of May in Paris.

Speaking of the Moroccans:
They are also in full swing, as there is only one place left for the Zone 1 in Libya and the Moroccans are facing Tunisia and Algeria in Sale (Morocco) this month to decide which Maghreb country will make the jump to Tripoli. The roster of the national-team can be found here. Guys like Kherrazi, Akinocho and Gourari are newcomers who have to fight for a spot with the routiniers like Mesbahi and Bouhelal while Reda Rhalimi (Who goes by the name of Ghanimi in Morocco) is back with the Atlas Eagles after experiencing some troubles with the federation some years ago.
Clearly missing is talented Mohamed Hachad, the Canadian-Moroccan guard of SPO Rouen, who is still active in the French Pro A and I doubt he will report to the team after the season is concluded since he had, like Rhalimi, trouble with the federation in the past.
Tunisia’s roster is compromised of local players with the possible addition of Fabien Daure of AS Monaco at the point guard-position. Another player, who could suit up for the Tunisians could be experienced American Wayne Houston who is married to a Tunisian and could apply for the passport if the federation is willing to pick up on him.

Mauritania is counting on the help of five overseas-based players as the inexperience of the current national-team is a big minus when heading into the Zone 2 qualifiers against Senegal, Guinea-Conakry and Mali in Bamako next week.
The Senegal now narrowed the list of players down to 15.

Let’s take a look on the roster:

Babacar Cisse, Fos Ouest (FRA)
Matar Mbaye, MAS (MOR)
Alpha Traore, MAS (MOR)
Thierno Ibrahima Niang, Seed /US Rail
Mouhamed Faye, SMU (USA)
El Hadji Malick Ndiaye, DUC
Ibou Hanne Niang, Douanes
El Hadji Sogui Gueye, UGB St.Louis
Pape Maguette Ngom, DUC
Mouhamadou Lamine Diop, Regatas Lima (Peru)
Boubacar Coly, Al Ansar (Saudi Arabia)
Doudou Thiam Ndiaye, US Rail
Mouhamadou Moustapha Niang, Lausanne Basket (SUI)
Mouhamed Saer Sene, New York Knicks (USA)
Aziz Ndiaye, Coll. of Southern Idaho (USA)

It will be interesting to see how the veterans like Babou Cisse, Alpha Traore and Matar Mbaye will be able to lead the team which is mostly composed of the next generation of players from Senegal.

If Gabon will be able to retain the services of their star-player Stephane Lasme (Partizan Belgrade), it would heavily raise the chances of the country to qualify for Libya 2009 in the Zone 4 tournament in Bangui, Central African Republic.

The US-based players (Guy Lasme, Oziwo, Nguema among others) and the Morocco-based players (Reteno, Moussounda…) would additionally boost the team, but it has to be seen if Head Coach Blaise Louamba Baleketa will be able to assemble this kind of talent for his roster in time.

The “D’Tigers” from Nigeria won’t be coached by Sam Vincent anytime soon, although Vincent applied for the job of head coach earlier this year.
The current D-League coach decided to take the offer of Jamaica to coach their national-team in the Caribbean Basketball Championships.

Cape Verde is currently negotiating with Cameroonian coach Lazare Adingono, who left Canisius College in the US to pursue a coaching career in Africa. The big question is now: Who will be coaching Cameroon?

Former-Georgetown Hoya and current national-team coach of Cameroon’s Women Joe Touomou is organizing one of the most important camps for African high school players in Central Africa.
The “Box It Out Challenge 2009” is a five-day camp, starting the 22nd of July in Cameroon’s capital Yaoundé and it attracts a lot of talent as a lot of players from the past camps landed on NCAA and prep school rosters in the USA.
For more information on the camp, please mail to: [email protected]

Tanzania’s National Basketball League is going to start soon. The weeklong event will be hosted by Mwanza and last year’s champs ABC are going against bitter rivals JKT, Savio and Vijana City Bulls to defend their title.
Besides well-known Hasheem Thabeet, there is a second Tanzanian applying for the NBA Draft. His name is Martin Kolikoli and his name pops up under “unknown individuals” in the early-entry list of the NBA Draft 2009. Good luck to this young fella!

Stephen Omwony netted in 26 points in Mogas Falcons’ 89-66 winner over Ndejje University Eagles. The star-studded guard recently returned home from the Seychelles to sign a big-time contract with the six-time champions of Uganda. His former-team PLS Hawks claims, that Omwony is still under contract with their organization and therefore should not be allowed to compete elsewhere. It has to bee seen what actions will be carried out by FIBA Africa in this delicate case.

And finally for this episode some basketball tidbits:

Kenya: KBF and clubs finally agreed

One of the top-clubs from the Seychelles is struggling early to keep the pace.

In Tunisia, US Monastir Head Coach Walid Gharbi has been pursued by Stade Nabeulin and JS Kabilye and finally decided to take the offer of JSK to coach them in 2009-2010.

Ater Majok entered the NBA Draft although he never played a single minute for the UConn Huskies. He might be pulling out of the draft and could try to return to school, but is being linked to a recruiting scandal

That’s all for today,

I’m out like rain in May.