ALGIERS (AfroBasket 2015) In the lead-up to the AfroBasket 2015, we take a closer look at all 16 participating national teams running from 19 to 30 August.
FIBA Ranking Men: 80th
Last participation in the AfroBasket: 2013 (1 win, 4 losses; 12th place)
Best result in the history of the AfroBasket: Runners-up in 2001
Qualified for AfroBasket 2015 - Awarded a wild card to participate in the tournament.
Back in 2001, the Algerians, led by Ali Bouziane, travelled to neighbouring Moroccos to record their best performance ever in the AfroBasket history.
Despite a defeat to Nigeria in the preliminary-round, the Algerians topped Group B with a 4-1 record having beaten Angola, Senegal, South Africa, the Central African Republic and Tunisia in the process.
However, facing then defending champions Angola in the final proved too much as they lost 78-68, but qualified for the World Championship the following year.
In their first word stage appearance in 2002, the North Africans lost four games, but beat Lebanon 100-70 to finish 15th in the 16-team event.
As the hosts of the 2005 edition of the African Championship, Algeria were left disappointed after losing to Nigeria in the third-place game.
Despite showing a lot of competitiveness two years ago in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, Algeria won only one of their five games.
Early this year, they beat Morocco in Game 1 of Africa Zone 1 qualifier, but were unable to prevail in the second-leg.
Meanwhile, they were one of the three teams awarded a wild card invitation to participate in this year’s AfroBasket.
Key Player: At first glance, Mohamed Harat’s scoring indicates him as Algeria main man, but a closer look it becomes clear how Mehdi Cheriet brings dynamism and energy to the team.
A couple of years ago, Harat led Algeria in scoring with 14 points, but Cheriet was an all-round player, averaging 12.2 points, 8 rebounds and 1.6 six assists per game.
Then, there is Sedik Touati, a 2.16m center who cleared Algeria’s boards with a team-best 8.6 rebounds per game.
Sorely Missed: Coach Ali Filali hasn’t seemed impressed with the Abdelhalim Kaouane’s performance at AfroBasket 2013.
The 33-year-old point guard spent more playing time than any Algerian, led Algeria with team-highs five assists and 34.2 minutes per game, ranked third overall in assists behind Nigerian ace Al-Farouq Aminu, but his name was nowhere to be seen.
Kouane will not be playing for Algeria in Tunisia 2015.
Rising Star: Ali-Mounir Benabdelhak, who last played for Canadian Brandon University Bobcats, is trying to earn his place about Filali’s squad.
Last season, the 2.00m forward averaged 12.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
Outlook: Algeria is one of those mysterious teams who could stun everyone for their competitiveness, but they also can struggle with inconsistency. And facing Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire and AfroBasket debutant Zimbabwe in Group D could be a tough test for Algeria.
Key players such as Meriet, Harat and Touati should step up as the team’s inspirational leaders for their best showing in Tunisia.
In just six words: Anything is possible with this team