MAPUTO (FIBA Africa Champions Cup for Women 2016/FIBA AfroBasket Women 2017) - Angolan international Nadir Manuel, who turned 30 on Wednesday, still can't hide her 2015 double disappointment.
But this time around, the 1.83m power forward has her eyes set on the top step of the podium at the ongoing ACCW in Maputo, Mozambique. She is also targeting next year’s FIBA AfroBasket Women.
"So far, everything is going according to our plans as we made it to the Quarter-Finals unbeaten," Manuel said.
However, the Angolan ace is aware that the competition is set to get tougher when they take on Mozambican side A'Politecnica on Friday.
"The knock-out phase will be difficult," she admitted. "We have to be focused as little mistakes can destroy our goals. And, we are not ready to return home empty-handed."
Last year wasn't a good one in Manuel's basketball career, after losing two major continental titles.
Once the 2016 ACCW is dusted and done, the Benguela native and her national teammates will start getting ready to take on African powerhouses next year.
Angola - who claimed back to back AfroBasket Women titles in 2011 and 2013 - finished in 4th place at the 2015 continental championship in Cameroon.
Even though the Angolans were left disappointed, Manuel believes it’s about time to move on.
"What happened [last year] belongs to the past. Now it's time to go ahead and bring back home what we lost last year," she insisted.
As two-time FIBA AfroBasket Women MVP Nacissela Mauricio has retired from her playing career, Manuel emerges as a potential leader of the Angolan women's national team. And, she cautioned that next year’s continental tournament will not be an easy task.
"Winning FIBA AfroBasket Women has become very tough as all the participating teams manage to select all their best players who ply their trade worldwide," she said. "That increases the competitiveness of the event, and you need to work hard to be among the best."