Basketball: AfroBasket 2013 in Ivory Coast-Seychelles to play in zone 6 qualifiers


09-February-2013

Seychelles still have to fight to qualify for this year’s 27th AfroBasket while defending champions Tunisia have qualified automatically

Sports Nation learned of this new development yesterday and Seychelles Basketball Federation (SBF) chairperson Sheila Ah-kong confirmed that the country’s men’s team are preparing for the zone 6 qualifiers in Mozambique later this month – February 16-23.

Other than Seychelles and hosts Mozambique, the other countries which will be taking part in the zone 6 qualifiers are Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Botswana and South Africa.

Angola, who have won the men’s Afro-Basket a record 10 times – in 1989, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009 – form part of zone 6 but will not take part in the qualifiers after receiving automatic qualification for finishing as losing finalists at the last competition in Madagascar in 2011.

Other teams who have already qualified for the AfroBasket final stage in Ivory Coast are Ivory Coast (hosts), Tunisia (defending champions), Nigeria (All-Africa Games winners in 2011 and third place finishers in the AfroBasket in 2011), Burkina Faso (zone 3 winners), Morocco (zone 1 winners), Algeria (zone 1 runners-up), Senegal (zone 2 winners), Cape Verde (zone 2 runners-up), Central African Republic (zone 4 winners), Cameroon (zone 4 runners-up), Congo (zone 4 third place) and Egypt (zone 5 winners).

The three other spots are to be filled by the zone 6 winners and runners-up, and the zone 7 winners.
But according to latest development, only one team will qualify for zone 6 and it is not clear who will fill the other two spots.

In a new development yesterday, the SBF was informed that there will still be only one place for zone 6 and the place of zone 7 will be a second wild card.

SBF head Ah-kong said the Seychelles men’s team, who won the Indian Ocean Island Games gold medal on home ground in 2011, will have to compete in the zone 6 qualifiers as instructed by Fiba Africa after none of the other zone 7 countries – Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Djibouti – showed an interest in taking part in the zone 7 qualifiers Seychelles was to host.

And in past interviews with this paper, SBF representatives had said that if no teams enroll for the qualifiers, Seychelles will finish as automatic group winners and will represent the zone 7 region at the 2013 AfroBasket tourney.
But the situation has now changed and the men’s team have to play the zone 6 qualifiers.

In the event of the country’s men’s team not qualifying for the final stage in Ivory Coast, the SBF can still make a formal claim to Fiba Africa to be the legal representatives of the zone 7 as it is not Seychelles’ fault if other countries in the region do not want to compete in the qualifiers.

In fact, Seychelles was twice asked to move the dates of the zone 7 qualifying tournament. Initially scheduled for December last year, the tournament was postponed, at the request of the Fiba Africa executive committee, because of the final round of the Champions Cup which was being held around the same period in the Equatorial Guinea. The tournament was then moved to January 28 – February 2 and once again the local organisers were asked by Fiba Africa to push it to a later date as it was to clash with the Fiba Africa central board committee meeting.

The Fiba Africa executive committee awarded the organisation of AfroBasket 2013 to the Ivory Coast who overcame bids from Rwanda and Tunisia following a six-month bidding process.

Ivory Coast previously hosted the Championship in 1985. That year, the hosts beat African powerhouse Angola in the final to secure the second of their two AfroBasket gold medals to date.

Two venues will be use for the games – a 3,000-seater Palais des Sports of Treichville and in a newly built 8,000 arena – between the 16 teams.

G. G.

Send your comment :

Name *

Email *

Comment *