ALEXANDRIA/LUANDA (Egypt/Angola) – When it comes to representing their national teams on a big stage like the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 African Qualifiers, a number of players did absolutely everything in their power for their countries’ basketball cause.
Since the start of the African Qualifiers in November 2021 in the Angolan city of Benguela, those players showed passion, belief, and determination to take their countries to FIBA’s flagship tournament.
Fast forward to February 2023 when Africa’s five representative at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Indonesia, Japan and Philippines were determined, some players earned the title of national heroes for their dedication to their national teams over the course of the past year and half.
Who the 22 heroes who played in every game in the African Qualifiers?
Ivan Almeida, Cape Verde 🇨🇻
Be it a pre-qualifier, qualifier for the AfroBasket or any other competition that Cape Verde has been involved in over the past few years, Ivan Almeida’s name is likely to pop up.
Almeida, a longterm national team player who has taken his talent to professional leagues in France, Poland and Portugal, has epitomised Cape Verdeans’s passion for their country. He has played in all Cape Verde’s 12 African Qualifiers games, and helped the Blue Sharks make history by qualifying for their first-ever FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Childe Dundao, Angola 🇦🇴
They call him a little giant due to his short heigh, but the 1.67m (5ft 6in) point guard has been huge for Angola in recent times.
Despite his busy schedule with Petro de Luanda in the Angolan League and the Basketball Africa League, Dundao has found time to suit up for his country throughout the African Qualifiers. Dundao, who played in all Angola’s five games at 2021 AfroBasket, was fundamental in helping Angola qualify for their sixth straight World Cup. He appeared in all Angola’s 12 games in the African Qualifiers.
Amr Abdelhalim, Egypt 🇪🇬
One of the two players – alongside Youssef Aboushousha – in Egypt’s current squad who played at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain, Amr Abdelhalim, known as Gendy in basketball circles, has responded to his national team duty like a real leader.
Gendy was part of Egypt’s team that finished with an 8-4 mark in the African Qualifiers, and qualified for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
A left shooting guard with a terrific long range, in twelve African Qualifiers games, Gendy averaged 12.6 points points per game.
Vafessa Fofana, Cote d’Ivoire 🇨🇮
Cote d’Ivoire used 29 players throughout their 12 African Qualifiers games, but Fofana was the only one to have appeared in all 12 games, contributing 11.4 points and 5.8 rebounds in 25.3 minutes per game.
If he stays injury-free, Fofana is likely to appeared in his second straight FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Nuni Omot, South Sudan 🇸🇸
Of the 20 players that featured for South Sudan in the Africa Qualifiers, Omot averaged a team-high of 26.4 minutes per game for players that appeared in 12 all games.
Omot was a constant headache for opponents, and that was reflected in his team-high of 15.1 points per game.
Omot played a crucial role is South Sudan’s first-ever World Cup qualification.
Yossou Ndoye, Senegal 🇸🇳
The 2.11m (6ft 11in) center was a constant presence in Senegal’s rotation throughout the African Qualifiers. He appeared in all 12 games.
Coming off the bench or starting, Ndoye did everything he possible could – including setting a record for most rebounds in a single African Qualifiers games (20) -, but his second straight World Cup appearance won’t happen as the Lions came up short in Group F, finishing with a 7-5 record. Two other Senegalese who appeared in all 12 games were Moustapha Diop and Mo Faye.
Omar Abada, Tunisia 🇹🇳
Along with team captain Makram Ben Romdhane and Achref Gannouni, Omar Abada featured in Tunisia’s 12 games.
Abada came up with impressive shots, trying to keep the reigning African champions in contention for one of the five tickets for African team for the World Cup, but Tunisia won’t be returning to their second straight World Cup after finishing 6-6 in Group F.
FULL LIST OF HEROES WHO PLAYED IN ALL 12 GAMES
Angola: Gerson Domingos, Teotonio Do and Gerson Goncalves (12 of 12 games);
South Sudan: Deng Acuoth, Mareng Gatkuoth, Padied Wang (12 of 12 games);
Cameroon: Benoit Mbala (12 of 12 games)
Cape Verde: Joel Almeida, Keneti Mendes, Fidel Mendonca (12 of 12 games)
Egypt: Youssef Aboushousha, Yusuf Shehata (12 of 12 games)
Guinea: Ousmane Kaba (12 of 12 games)
THE PLAYERS WHO APPEARED IN ALL BUT ONE GAME:
Egypt: Ehab Amin;
South Sudan: Kuany Ngor Kuany, Koch Bar;
Congo DR: Jordan Sakho.