DAKAR (2016 Rio Olympics) - Senegal are set for a six-day trip to Japan as part of their Rio Olympics preparations, the team's head coach Moustapha Gaye confirmed on Friday.
The play caller recalled 10 players who propelled Senegal to the title at AfroBasket Women 2015, while adding six new faces for the trip to East Asia.
We can't just talk about one single player. We are a team, and we are trying to build a team identity. - Gaye
The goal of the trip, Gaye told FIBA.com, "is to give the team competitiveness."
Although the African champions opened their Rio Olympics' preparation three weeks ago in Dakar, it is in Japan where Gaye will be assessing newcomers Ndeye Khady Dieng, an Auburn University standout, Yacine Diop - who rose to prominence as MVP of the 2012 FIBA Africa U18 Championship for Women - and Couna Ndao, who starred for Senegal at 2013 FIBA U19 Championship for Women.
"We can't just talk about one single player. We are a team, and we are trying to build a team identity," Gaye explained.
Returning to the Olympics for the first time since 2000, Senegal have been drawn in Group B alongside the World and Olympic champions USA, European champions Serbia, 2015 FIBA Americas champions Canada and 2016 FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament (WOQT) contenders China and Spain.
"We are taking advantage of these preparations to get ready for Rio, where we are going to face better teams than us," Gaye noted.
Following Senegal's trip to Japan, Senegal will return home before traveling to Italy and Serbia for the remaining of their preparations.
"I have plenty of time to evaluate and decide the final roster," Gaye said.