Vice-champion in 2017, Nigeria enters the competition this Wednesday, August 25, against Mali, in the opening day of Group C of the Afrobasket 2021. Among the favorites of the tournament, Senegal, housed in group D, will face Uganda on the same day.
Group C: D-Tigers to forget the Olympics
Nigeria is looking for a second Afrobasket title after 2015. The D-Tigers will want to put up a different face in Kigali, Rwanda, from their recent Olympics performance and will want to quickly forget the summer games.
NBA players cannot play major competitions in the same year. This explains the absence of Josh Okogie (Minnesota), Chimezie Metu (Sacramento Kings), among other players.
The D-Tigers will cross paths with Mali, who are looking to get back to the top. The Eagles have been absent from the podium since 1972. That's a long time for this country that dominates youth basketball in Africa. The Eagles will be at their 20th finals, their 8th participation in a row.
Champion in 1981 and 1985, Côte d'Ivoire is the other favorite of this group C, alongside Nigeria. The Elephants have missed six of the 30 editions. Fourth in 2013, they dream of regaining the trophy. But they will face Kenya, which has been back in the competition since 1993. They qualified by beating Angola (74-73) during the qualifiers last February. They are a physical and very skillful team led by a woman, Liz Mills.
Group D: Senegal, undisputed favorites
Senegal are chasing a sixth continental title since 1997. A long desert crossing that Gorgui Sy Dieng's band wants to put an end to. Indeed, the Lions won the 1968, 1972, 1978, 1980 and 1997 editions. They will have to confirm their status as favorites in their group against Uganda, which is playing its third Afrobasket.
Senegal has taken part in 29 of the 30 editions. The Cranes qualified at the expense of Morocco. They have arguments in this group.
Since finishing second in 2007, Cameroon has been playing the second roles. The Indomitable Lions will be at their 10th tournament. They will meet the small thumb of the tournament, South Sudan, which plays its first Afrobasket. This match promises to be a good one as both teams have the same style of basketball: physical and based on fast-break (counter-attack).