KIGALI (Rwanda) – Kigali has turn into a particular place for Cote d’Ivoire talisman Souleyman Diabate, and he hopes to construct on his success there when he returns to the Rwandan capital along with his nationwide crew for the 2021 FIBA AfroBasket in August.
The 16-nation Africa’s flagship event will happen at Kigali Area from August 24 to September 5.
“I JUST WANT TO WIN THE AFROBASKET WHEN I COME BACK HERE [KIGALI], THAT’S OUR MAIN GOAL AS A TEAM.”
A couple of weeks in the past, the 33-year-old level guard took Kigali by a storm serving to Egypt giants Zamalek beat Tunisian champions US Monastir to clinch the first-ever Basketball Africa League (BAL) trophy.
The 1.85m (6ft 1in) guard sank in three of his six three-point makes an attempt en path to a 14-point efficiency off the bench because the historic Egyptian membership closed their BAL marketing campaign undefeated in six video games. Diabate averaged 10.4 factors and 4.6 assists in 5 video games.
It was one of many main trophies in his profession up to now, however he feels that there’s an unfinished enterprise earlier than he can contemplate retirement.
“Not like our predecessors, my era has by no means the African Championship,” Diabate replied to FIBA.basketball when requested about his short-term targets, including: “I simply wish to win the AfroBasket after I come again right here [Kigali], that is our important objective as a crew. Perhaps we’re going to add some new gamers.”
The 2-time winners of the AfroBasket within the Nineteen Eighties have been drawn in Group C alongside Africa No.1 crew Nigeria, Mali and Kenya.
It is a group that Diabate envisioned for a crew vying to make historical past: “For me, it is a superb group. Mali is hard to play in opposition to; I do not know a lot in regards to the Kenyan crew; however going through Nigeria within the group phases is an efficient factor for us to have the ability to entry our stage and potential as a crew.”
The Ivorians path Nigeria 1-3 over their final 4 conferences courting again to the 2017 AfroBasket, however it’s the ‘Elephants’ win in opposition to the D’Tigers within the second spherical of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup African Qualifiers that provides Diabate hope and confidence.
“For me, Nigeria is the most effective crew in Africa. Even when they’ve received just one AfroBasket .
“It is troublesome to play in opposition to them as a result of they’ve so many good gamers who could make a distinction at any given second within the sport, however, on the identical time, it is easy to play them as a result of there’s a lot ego on that crew. So many good gamers do not imply they’ll play collectively. That is what makes it simple to play in opposition to Nigeria. Opponents can discover their weak point of individualism.”
The winners of Teams A, B, C and D advance to the Quarter-Finals whereas the runners-up from every group will play an elimination sequence in opposition to the third-placed groups for the final 4 spots to finish the Final Eight line-ups.
For six-time AfroBasket participant Diabate a superb begin to the competitors can be key to their aspirations.
“We’re going to win as many video games as potential,” he burdened.
Cote d’Ivoire closed this 12 months’s AfroBasket Qualifiers with a en encouraging 6-0 edge, which included two straight wins in opposition to Cameroon in Cameroon.
“Beating Cameroon (twice) of their dwelling courtroom boosted out confidence ranges,” there isn’t a doubts about that, Diabate identified.