When Angola start their AfroBasket Women 2013 campaign as the defending champions later this week in Mozambique’s capital city of Maputo, they will feature only two new players compared to the team that competed last summer at the London Olympics.
France-based Clarisse Mpaka and Whitney Miguel convinced head coach Anibal Moreira as they aim a double mission of defending their African crown as well as securing one of the two places on offer for African teams for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women to be staged in Turkey.
Both Mpaka and Miguel have never worn the Angolan colours in official competition, but Moreira is expecting to make the most of their European experience.
Miguel is a 1.85m forward who plays for French side Leon Tregor Basket of the Ligue Feminine 2, while Mpaka is reportedly joining Angola national league runners-up Inter Clube de Luanda.
From the Olympian group, both Ana Gonçalves and Angela Cardoso were left out.
Among the final cuts who spent three weeks preparing on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain, Moreira made sure to include sharpshooter Sonia Guadalupe who missed out an entire national league season due to maternity and returned a couple of months ago.
Guadalupe led Angola in scoring two years ago in Bamako, Mali and was named to the All-Tournament Team along fellow Angolan Nacissela Mauricio, Djenebou Sissoko of Mali and Senegalese duo of Aya Traore and Diodo Diouf.
In their Olympic debut, Angola ended winless in five games, and had the lowest field goal percentage in the tournament.
Unlike their male counterpart, Angola’s women’s have never played in a FIBA World Championship for Women, and they will take on eternal rival Nigeria on Day 1 of the opening of Group B.
Other teams in the pool include Mali, Kenya, Cape Verde and Cameroon.
Angola squad for AfroBasket Women 2013: Catarina Camufal, Astrida Vicente, Nguendula Filipe, Nadir Manuel, Sonia Guadalupe, Fineza Eusebio, Nacissela Mauricio, Luísa Tomas, Clarisse Mpaka, Whitney Miguel, Madalena Felix and Felizarda Jorge.
The 12-team women’s continental championship runs from 20 to 29 September.