Ang_WTwelve African teams are converging on Mozambique’s capital city of Maputo for AfroBasket Women 2013 where two tickets for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women will be at stake.

The continental championship tips off on Friday 20 September and finishes on Sunday 29 September.

The winners of the two Semi-Finals – to be played on 28 September – will represent Africa next summer in the FIBA World Championship for Women in Turkey (27 September-5 October 2014).

Although a small number of frontrunners are ready to make the most of their international experience and qualify for the world championship, this year’s AfroBasket Women is poised to open a new chapter in African basketball history because of the growing competitiveness level of the so-called small teams.

Senegal, the top seed in Group A, have dominated the game on the continent over the past two decades, enabling them to compete in five of the six FIBA World Championships for Women played since 1990.

But if they are to remain among Africa’s best, they will need to do much better than their latest campaign at the Francophone Games where they finished 11th in the 12-team tournament won by Cote d’Ivoire.

Senegal will desperately need the services of their prominent players Aya Traore and Astou Traore who helped the team finish runners-up two years ago.

In Group B, Mali, the highest ranked African team, has struggled to convince their top performers to play in Maputo but they can count on a group of talented young players.

Mali and Senegal aside, the race to Turkey 2014 will include AfroBasket Women defending champions Angola, tournament hosts Mozambique and the eternal title contender Nigeria.

However, judging by the recent performances of Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon it becomes clear that this year’s AfroBasket may be one of the most competitive in recent years, and there might be a surprising podium contender.

Mozambique will look to end their misfortune of finishing runners-up whenever they have hosted the continental championship, having done so in 1986 and 2003.

Over the past two decades, more often than not, the defending champions have gone on to finish on the podium at the following tournament.

The Angolans have made it clear their target is to get to the Semi-Finals and play for the right to appear at their first world championship ever.

There is more at stake at the Maputo showcase: will a North African team break through and become the first from that part of the continent to reach the FIBA World Championship for Women since Tunisia last did so in 2002. Can Kenya secure their first appearance at a world event since 1994?

The 12 teams are divided in two groups.

Mali will take on Angola, Nigeria, Kenya, Cape Verde and Cameroon in Group B.

Group A consists of Senegal, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt and Algeria


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