LUANDA - Former Angolan international Paulo Macedo, who coached his country to their last African title in 2013, can't wait for the implementation of FIBA's new competition system, which comes into effect in 2017.
Macedo, who now coaches Marinha de Guerra in the Angolan BIC Basket league, insists the new system is the way forward to promote the game basketball across Africa. A significant change has to do with the periodicity of AfroBasket. As of 2017, the continent's flagship event will be held every four years - instead of every two years - with qualification for the competition taking place during four windows over the course of 15 months.
Macedo said to FIBA.com: "I am sure that a lot of fans from across the continent of Africa will love to see big African teams like Angola, Nigeria, Tunisia or Egypt visiting their countries to play a competitive game."
The best African team at FIBA's flagship event will qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Games. And, unlike the current system, which gives three African teams a second chance to qualify for the Olympics, four teams from the continent will have the opportunity of chasing their Olympic dream through four Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (OQTs).
"The new system should encourage lower ranked African countries to get ready for the challenges, expand, develop their grassroots basketball programmes, and more importantly, they can generate income," said Macedo.
Basketball in Africa might not be the same again as this is a big chance for new talented players to emerge on international stage. - Macedo
Macedo, who starred for his country in two World Championships (1986 and 1900) as well as the 1992 Olympics, has never played an African championship on his home country.
"Although we have a competitive national championship, and basketball enjoys a big popularity on our country, a large portion of our fans have never watched our national team play here in Angola. So, I believe the new system is the way forward."
The 11-time African champions Angola last played a competitive game in Angola as hosts of AfroBasket 2007.