Your guide to the African Championships 2011

The African Championships in Madagascar just started and to make it easier to you to follow it, I decided to put a little guide together right here:

 

 

The Teams:

The Bottom four: {jathumbnail off}

South Africa

Don’t expect much, as it’s basically the same team, which came in next-to-last in the last African Championships and lacked funding to travel to Taiwan to compete in the William Jones Cup, which would have been a pretty good test for the country. However, wins over Chad, Togo and Madagascar should be more than possible and so; a better outing is in sight. New Mexico State-sophmore Nephwale, a big talent, won’t be there to help though, and can’t be replaced adequately.

Chad

Due to the lack of competition in their zonal qualifiers (Democratic Rep. of Congo, Rep. of Congo and Gabon stayed away), the Chadians made the African Championships although loosing badly to the Central African Republic twice. French-coach Patrick Maucouvert will be getting a boost by the arrival of Ali Djim and Garba Makka, both front-court players with U.S. college experience, but the rest of the team is too inexperienced to go against professional players.

Madagascar

The hosts added Spain-based professional Charles Ramsdell as a naturalized player but the lack of quality under the basket is evident and also the lack of talent may ground the country’s ambitions to advance early on.

Togo

Jimmy Williams, a naturalized U.S. American will be Togo’s go-to-guy, since he is known to be a scorer who played in the Middle East and Northern Africa professionally before. Serabilo Boucari arrives from Sweden, but the skinny guard lacks simply lacks consistency to be a real force in major competitions. All other players are based in Togo a few with talent, but mostly lacking the necessary structures in the country to play on another level.

Places 9-12:

Egypt

The rebuilding Pharaohs won’t be much of a factor in Madagascar. Ramy Gunady, Ramy Ibrahim, Mohamed Adly and Amro Sherif are back for one more championship, but without Wael Badr and Amir Fanan, the team is lacking a real scoring threat and may not place better than last time in Libya.

Mali

Amara Sy quit the Eagles and got married recently. Congrats to him, but the team will be missing him a lot, since he was the glue guy of the Eagles. Veteran Soumaila Samake needs to provide leadership while fellow post-player Mamadou Diarra needs to prove, that he is really ready for pro-hoops while Mo Tangara should provide instant rebounding and inside scoring. On the downside: Guards (Niakate, Coulibaly and Keita) won’t be really up bar with their frontcourt.

Mozambique

The lack of a tall center in the post may hurt Mozambique’s chances as well as the lack of players with international club experience as most players are based in the country. Clearly the upside for Coach Inaki Martin is that players are competing for the national-team for a long time now.

Senegal

Alain Weisz is struggling to get a competitive team together. DeSagana Diop is absent as always and Ndong takes a rest while the French federation refused to let Joseph Gomis and Pape Badiane go. Then, the Senegalese forgot to pay the insurance to Pau-Orthez for Antoine Mendy. Now, Weisz has to integrate seven newcomers into the team, which lacks a capable point guard like in the past years. Not a good start into a competition…

Top 8:

Angola

…and the winner is: Angola! Quelle surprise! Cipriano and Lutonda got booted due to their age but Michel Gomez managed to play as many test games as possible and had plenty of time to prepare professionally for another title run. Big man Joaquim Gomes is going to score at will while he gets enough support from experienced Eduardo Mingas and Carlos Morais while even their newcomers know how to fit into the existing roster.

Ivory Coast

Pape-Phillipe Amagou will be missed as well as young-gun Charles Abouo but the Elephants should be counted in for the crown, although their poor results in their test-matches did not relate to the overall quality of the roster. Solo Diabate, Guy Landry and the late arrival of Herve Lamizana should give the Ivorians enough fire- power while the bench looks deep compared to other nations.

Central African Republic

Romain Sato won’t be there as his negotiations for a new contract with Panathinaikos aren’t done yet. James Mays is new on board and the mostly France-based roster that is consisting of Max Kougere, Yannick Zachee, Mike Mokongo, Jimmy Djimrabaye, Regis Koundjia Guy Kodjo and Lionel Bomayako. If Neil Londoumon is going to make the final cut and gets playing time, you may witness a new African star in the making.

Cameroon

Harding Nana is not with the team, as well as a couple of others that played for the country in the last African Champs. No real test games prior to such an event may cost Lazare Adingono a place in the semi- finals. Aboya and Wangmene are there to rebound only while Bitee and Makanda may do the scoring part. Essengue is back from his successful stint in Asia, maybe he is the x-factor for the Indomitable Lions. A weaker team compared to the last years but still capable of going deep into this tourney.

Tunisia

The North Africans are coming without Hamdi Braa (refused to go due to Ramadan), Bechir Hadidane (had a stand off with the coach), Dhifallah (no reason given), Kenioua (injured) and Maoua (getting married) to Madagascar to reach once more the finals of the competition. This time though, it’s going to be much more difficult without the missing players. Still, the system of coach Tlalti worked in the past for them and may work once more, as the key is team-play rather then star- players who score only the baskets.

Nigeria

D’Tigers won’t have any NBA-player and only three players from the 2009 African Champs (Ugboaja, Umeh and Obazuaye). Now the good news is that “Big Olu” Oyedeji and Daddy Ime Udoka are back with the national-team that is coached by Ayo Bakare. Don’t expect too much once the staring five is in foul- trouble, as the bench may lack some quality, which is needed if they want to go all the way into the finals.

Morocco

Younes Idrissi is out, but coach Hachad can rely on his son Mohamed and on Reda Rhalimi, who travelled all around the globe just to make it home in time, to lead AS Sale to the national championship. Zakaria Mesbahi and Mustapha Khalfi will be helpful for the Lions of the Atlas and new blood has been added as well. Expect a better result than the 12th place in Libya this time.

Rwanda

Five naturalized players (Eliis, Wilson, Thomson, Miller and Cameron) will be back for the East Africans while Kabange and Barame are solid back-ups for the country that is interested to host the African Championships in two years. Kenny Wilson may outgun anybody again, and a spot in the last eight should be in reach for the ambitious Rwandans.

Naturalized players:

Charles Ramsdell USA & Madagascar

Jimmy Williams USA & Togo

Errick Craven USA & Ivory Coast

James Mays USA & Central African Republic

Christopher Rodgers USA & Cameroon

DaMarcus Ellis USA & Rwanda

Kenny Wilson USA & Rwanda

Robert Thomason USA & Rwanda

Matt Miller USA & Rwanda

Brad Cameron USA & Rwanda

NBA players:

None. Okay, you can count Ime Udoka in, who played some games for the Spurs before being released.

Missing NBA players:

Luc Mbah a Moute (Cameroon), DeSagana Diop (Senegal), Ike Diogu (Nigeria), Ekpe Udoh (Nigeria), Al-Farouq Aminu (Nigeria), Ben Uzoh (Nigeria), Gani Lawal (Nigeria) and Solomon Alabi (Nigeria)

Now I hope you are more than ready to follow the African Championships and ready to enjoy more than a week of action in Antananarivo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Official website: http://madagascar2011.fiba.com/pages/eng/fe/11/fafcm/p/index.html

Video highlights: http://www.fibatv.com/page/Video?tabb=highlights

Live stats: http://static.sportresult.com/federations/fiba/live-2011-node/?event=7915

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