With the competition starting today and with the Top ten players to watch list having been issued, along with a preview of both groups, you can now check out our countdown prediction from eight to the coveted number one spot.
It’s often hard to evaluate Uganda’s real potential and predict where they can end up at major continental competitions, mainly because of the team’s inconsistency. At times Uganda look capable of competing against heavyweight teams on the continent just as much as they can struggle against some of the lower ranked teams.
If Uganda bring the likes of Arthur Kaluma, Adam Seiko, Ishmail Wainright and Den John Geu to Lagos, then this ranking position will feel wholly inaccurate. But without too much disrespect, if they show up with a similar squad to the one that went 0-3 in the last window of the 2023 World Cup African Qualifiers, it’s hard to rank the Silverbacks any higher than this.
Having Alpha Diallo, Alpha Kaba and rising star Mambourou Mara on the squad as confirmed by head coach Zeljko Zecevic, is great news for Guinea, Plus, adding Shannon Evans is everything they could have asked for. However, Zecevic’s team will need a productive bench, which is often their Achilles heel.
Group B isn’t necessarily an uncharted territory for Guinea mainly because of their history with Tunisia. Ever since Guinea returned to the African Championship in 2017, after three decades away from FIBA Africa’s flagship event, they’ve lost four times to Tunisia. But, times are different now. Reigning champions Tunisia have experience some decline, while Guinea have grown in confidence.
Congo DR is another team that desperately needs to implement a consistent program to capitalize from the immense pool of talented players at their potential disposal.
For instance, during the second and third qualifying windows of the 2023 World Cup African Qualifiers, the Congolese defeated powerhouse Senegal twice in Dakar and Alexandria. But they crashed out in the next window in Alexandria where they showed up with a new coaching staff and also missing key players, despite the addition of Golden State Warriors rising star Jonathan Kuminga.However, if the Congolese can utilize half of the team that finished fourth at the 2023 FIBA AfroCAN last month, they can do wonders in Lagos, but if they select a brand new team things might be hard for DR Congo.
It remains to be seen what Mali have to offer after pulling out of the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup African Qualifiers. Obviously Mali did poorly in the FIBA AfroCan last month, but the team’s talent and potential is never in question.
And if they make the necessary adjustments and learned from that FIBA AfroCAN experience, where they finished winless and last in the 12-team event, they will be safe in Lagos and might just cause some mayhem.
Cameroon are headed to Lagos with a relatively new team compared to the one that finished 0-3 at FIBA AfroCAN in Luanda. And the return of former Cameroonian international Alfred Aboya at the helm of the indomitable Lions might just bring a new playing style.
Under Aboya, Cameroon went 3-3 in the last two windows of the 2023 World Cup African Qualifiers. If Cameroon can beat Tunisia in Group B it’s be a game-changing moment for a team that has shown so much potential over the years, but is yet to become a Top Five nation in Africa.
The return of Mario Palma at the helm of Tunisia after the abrupt departure for Erman Kunter represents a major boost for the reigning African champions. And, they desperately need to return to their glory days after missing out on the qualification to this year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Angolan-Portuguese Palma and Tunisia had parted ways after the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup. Whether or not Palma, the most successful coach in African basketball with five AfroBasket titles, can revive Tunisia’s Olympics hope will be seen over time. But this Tunisia team is very likely to look different in Lagos.
One of Senegal’s most coveted aspirations is the Olympics. The only African heavyweight that hasn’t appeared in the Olympics in the last four decades, Senegal look at the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament in Lagos as an opportunity to re-write history.
There’s no question that Senegal will be challenged in the Nigerian capital, but if they can overcome hosts Nigeria in Group A, and this is not an improbable dream, the Lions will roar towards the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament next year.
In the build-up to the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament Nigeria can’t contemplate any other result on home soil, and that’s what makes them the number one team in this Power Ranking.
But can they be challenged? Absolutely. Can they live up to expectations? Well, quite simply, they have to. Do they have the team and coaching staff to successfully protect their home court? Yes, D’Tigers have a decent team, but the game against Senegal on Monday, August 14 will tell us more about this team’s actual identity and reality.
PH Club Amateur Open Golf Tourney Tees- Off, Oct 9
Preparations are in top gear as this year’s edition of the Port Harcourt Club Amateur Open Golf Championship tees off on October 9, 2023.
The Chairman of the Tournament Organizing Committee, (COC),Dr. Patrick Ohia, who made this known while addressing sports journalists in Port Harcourt, said the championship will take place at the Golf Section of Port Harcourt Club 1928.
Dr. Ohia hinted that over 220 amateur golfers have registered for the tourney, adding that the theme of this year’s championship is “Golfing for Healthy Living”.
According to him, the tournament will feature mostly golfers within the South-South and South-East region of Nigeria, and hinted that registration had since been closed.
He maintained that every necessary logistics have been put in place for a hitch-free championship, adding that this year’s edition of the Port Harcourt Club Amateur Open Golf Championship will be unprecedented in the annals of the golf section.
The Organising Committee Chairman further disclosed that professional golfers will also participate in the championship as mouth-watering cash prizes have been earmarked for them as they play sorely for monetary gains.
He said that the Caddies will play on the first day, while the seniors and the elders will take their turn on the second day of the open, which will precede the Lady Golfers, Professionals and Amateurs tee-off respectively.
Meanwhile, he said the tournament is being bankrolled by Polaris Bank and a list of other sponsors.
NYG : Coach Expresses Disappointment Over Over-Age Players
The Head Coach of Team Rivers Hockey team, Comfort Nya has expressed disappointment over the fielding of over aged players at the ongoing National Youth Games (NYG) in Asaba Delta State.
She praised her team for their performance, adding that she was disappointed with her opponents, especially, Kaduna state for fielding overaged players.
Nya said this yesterday in an interview with sports journalists shortly after they lost 5-0 against Kaduna state at the ongoing NYG in Asaba Delta state.
According to her, she has been with the team for only three months. She expressed optimism that in another 12 months, the team will turn things around.
“I believe in the team with what I have seen so far, they will do well in next edition.
“ The team started brightly at the game but were overpowered by their opponents.
“I think we still have one game to play against Niger. I am assuring Rivers state that they are not going to do bad in the game.
By: Kiadum Edookor
Athlete Advises Parents To Encourage Wards In Sports
The first gold medalist of Team Rivers State at the ongoing National Youths Games (NYG) in Asaba, Beauty Jumbo, has advised parents to always encourage and not to give up on any child that chooses or gets involved in sports.
According to her, she fell in love with gymnastics through the advice of her sister and today she is able to do well in the game.
Jumbo made the assertion on Wednesday while speaking with sports journalists shortly after she won a gold medal in gymnastics at the ongoing NYG in Asaba, Delta State.
She expressed joy over winning the gold medal, adding that she wants to be the next generation gymnast.
“ I want to advise parents not to lose hope in any child that is participating in sporting activities because sports pay.
“ My aim is to be the next generation gymnast. I love the game because my sister developed my interest in the game.
“ I want to make my parents and my country, Nigeria proud”, Jumbo said.
The former bronze medalist in the sixth edition of NYG and student of Dominion Noble Global Academy of Port Harcourt said that her coming to the seventh edition was to win gold which she has done adding that she wants to win more in the game.
“I am very excited because my plan has come to past.
“ I want to thank my coach, Tamunosaki West, for what he has been doing during our training,” she said.
By: Kiadum Edookor
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