LUANDA (2015 FIBA Africa Champions Cup) - Angolan side Recreativo do Libolo will enter the 2015 FIBA Africa Champions Cup (ACC) looking to win the competition for the second year in a row.
This year's 12-team event runs from 10-20 December in the Angolan capital of Luanda. Teams from all corners of the continent are expected to take part in FIBA Africa's elite club competition, which has been dominated by Angolan clubs in recent years.
Primeiro D'Agosto of Angola have dominated the competition, winning a staggering eight ACC titles in 12 years. However, a year ago things didn't go well for them as they finished in sixth-place.
In 2014, it was Angolan side Recreativo do Libolo who clinched a first-ever ACC title following an 86-68 victory over Tunisian side Etoile Sportive du Rades in Tunis, Tunisia.
This time around, Libolo, who kept most of the squad from last year, rank among the frontrunners, and look ambitious. The team comprises a number of Angolan internationals including Olimpio Cipriano Carlos Morais, Braulio Morais, Valdelicio Joaquim, Eduardo Mingas and Milton Barros. They held a two-week training in Lisbon, Portugal, and head coach Norberto Alves couldn't be feeling more positive about his team's chances.
"We are candidates to win the competition. My team is prepared and we have everybody available,” he told Angolan media.
In North Africa, Tunisian side Etoile Sportive Rades and Royal Army Force (FAR) Rabat of Morocco claimed the only two spots on offer for Africa Zone 1 clubs for this year's ACC. In East Africa, Egypt's Gezira dominated FIBA Africa Zone 5 to secure qualification and ASCUT from Madagascar clinched FIBA Africa Zone 7’s spot.
In the Western part of the African continent, two Nigerian clubs - Kano Pillars and MarkMentors - claimed FIBA Africa Zone 3 two spots for the competition in Cotonou, Benin, while Cape Verde side Bairro is expected to take part in the competition for the very first time.
Three Angola clubs, including hosts D'Agosto, ACC defending champions Libolo and local champions Petro de Luanda are set to do battle for the top prize.
List of teams of African Champions Cup 2015 (to be confirmed):
1. Recreativo do Libolo (Angola)
2. Petro de Luanda (Angola)
3. Primeiro D’Agosto (Angola)
4. Etoile Sportive du Rades (Tunisia)
5. FAR (Royal Army Force) Morocco
6. Gezira (Egypt)
7. Bairro (Cape Verde)
8. Kano Pilars (Nigeria)
9. Markmentors (Nigeria)
10. ASCUT (Madagascar)
11. Mazembe (DR Congo)
12. InterClube (Republic of Congo)