Abidjan/Monastir (Cote d’Ivoire/Tunisia) – The fourth window of the FIBA 2023 Basketball World Cup qualifiers will include 18 matches this weekend in Abidjan and Monastir. Five of them are must-see posters for us.
Why are these confrontations so awaited? For the talent on the field, the quality of the coaches, and most importantly, for the competitions they will promote and the impact of their results on qualification for the next World Championship.
Friday August 26 (Monastir)
Egypt vs Tunisia
Since arriving at the helm of her choice of Canadian Roy Rana, Egypt has stirred up many discussions on the continent. The Pharaohs were a bit like Tunisia ten years ago: they are young, confident, and very competitive.
On Friday, Egypt will face an experienced team from Tunisia, eager to protect their home edge.
When these two teams met last year in the FIBA AfroBasket, twice African champions Tunisia wiped out a 19-point deficit to eventually win 87-81, Tunisia passed their biggest test ever before successfully defending their title.
Omar Orabi (2.18 m) and Anas Mahmoud (2.14 m) are the two control towers of the Egyptian racket, and coach Rana hopes that his duo will be able to limit the scope of work of the giant Salah Mejri, one of Tunisia’s biggest offensive assets.
Egypt and Tunisia play fairly similar formations, and whoever makes the fewest mistakes – in defense – will win.
One thing the Tunisians didn’t forget, used to backing themselves up after a disappointing campaign at FIBA AfroBasket 2013, was their surprise Round of 16 defeat to a young Egyptian team (who would then complete second).
Senegal vs South Sudan
How can the advantage of this matchup not be missed when Senegal clearly dominated their opponent (104-75) a year ago in the FIBA AfroBasket?
Circumstances have changed little since then.
No one expected Senegal to end up in their current position (2-3) in the African Zone qualifiers, and few people imagined that South Sudan would be just three wins away from historic qualification. Cup with six matches remaining.
Senegal arrive in Monastir with the strong intention of catching up after an average performance in the second and third qualifying periods. Desajana Diop is the new coach, while South Sudan has certainly learned from his mistakes and intends to continue his good momentum.
Both teams do not lack centimeters, shooting skills and aggressiveness to go to the basket, making this game one not to be missed.
Friday, August 26 (Abidjan)
Ivory Coast vs Nigeria
The last time D’Tigers came to Abidjan, in the final window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers in Africa, they were insulted 72-46 by the hosts.
The Nigerians desperately need to turn their 2-2 record to 5-2 but facing Ivory Coast in their opening Group E match will be a huge challenge.
For their part, the Ivorians have a perfect record (4-0) and only need three wins to start the FIBA World Cup for the second time in a row.
Coach Mike Brown is back in charge of Nigeria and will want to revive the D’Tigers’ qualification chances.
Saturday 27 August (Monastir)
Tunisia vs Senegal
Two of the five teams that represented Africa in the latest edition of the Global Survival Competition are vying for places for Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines.
Tunisia has good memories of the previous confrontation. In 2015, while organizing the continental championship, he lost in the semi-finals to Angola, but the Carthage Eagles then beat Senegal in the match for third place.
Sunday 28 August (Abidjan)
Angola vs Nigeria
Angola’s downfall began on August 30, 2015, when they lost to Nigeria in the FIBA AfroBasket Final.
The two countries have not met face to face since then.
For years, Angola was a stumbling block for Nigeria in their quest to win the African title, but things have changed. D’Tigers hold the top spot in the African rankings – according to the FIBA World Ranking provided by Nike – while the Angolan team, crowned 11 times continental champions, is in the process of rebuilding.
What makes this display interesting is the fact that Nigeria and Angola share the same record (2-2) in Group E. The winner of this duel can go on to hope to qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.