RABAT (AfroBasket 2015) - Morocco's newly appointed head coach Toni Vujanic is a confident man, and he is making sure to instil that attitude to his team for the upcoming AfroBasket 2015.
Vujanic, who took over in mid June, took his 14-player preliminary squad to his native Serbia, where they spent the last two weeks of training camp.
They played eight warm-up games against local teams, but he will only announce Morocco’s final roster for this year’s AfroBasket after facing Cote d’Ivoire in Rabat on Saturday.
"My players picked up my game philosophy very quickly," he told FIBA.com.
"Right now we are playing at such high level."
We are the underdogs who can become big dogs - Vujanic
Among Vujanic’s selections is a pair of newcomers - Reda Ali Harras and Abdelali Lahraichi - trying to strive in Tunisia 2015.
Both Harras and Lahraichi have featured for Morocco at 16-team AfroBasket 2013 in Abidjan where they finished eighth.
"The young players are working extremely hard to improve their game in a big stage such as the AfroBasket," the Serbian tactician pointed out.
Vujanic, however, is new to FIBA Africa’s elite tournament.
He has coached in mid-east (Lebanon and Saudi Arabia), but competing among 16 African teams trying to qualify for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro is something different.
"A lot," he said, when asked about his expectations for the tournament.
"The Federation was aiming at reaching the Quarter-Finals, but, from what I saw in Serbia, we can do a lot better than that," he said.
"Playing the way we currently are, we can reach the Semi-Finals, I have no doubts about it."
Morocco will open their AfroBasket 2015 campaign facing Senegal in Group B, before squaring off against reigning champions Angola and Mozambique.
"We have already scouted Senegal, and I must say they are not playing great basketball.
"Mozambique won’t be a problem for us, and Angola is playing at the same level from the past few years.
"None gives us a chance. Everyone is talking about teams such as Tunisia, Nigeria, Senegal and Angola. I feel this is a big motivation for us."