PATRAS (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers) - Senegal may not have won FIBA AfroBasket 2017, but by co-hosting the event and reaching the Semi-Finals Mouhammad Faye believes his compatriots saw how much potential the country has and he expects great things at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers.
The first phase of the FIBA AfroBasket was co-hosted by Senegal in Dakar. And Faye helped the hosts grab three victories over South Africa, Egypt and Mozambique in taking top honors in Group D. That gave the local faithful a feeling of how good Senegal could be.
"Senegal realized this past summer how the country loves basketball and the potential we have," the 32-year-old Faye said. "So now I believe the federation and the government know what to do to help Senegalese basketball get to the top."
The next step for Senegal is qualifying for FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. The Lions played at Spain 2014 after missing out in the 2010 tournament. And Faye said he and teammates are very much looking forward to reaching China 2019.
"Any player or country would love to play in the World Cup. It is the best competition and the biggest stage," the 6ft 9in (2.06m) power forward pointed out.
"We know that we are playing against some very good teams. We also know the potential of our team. So we are going there to win all of the games. It won't be easy, but we can do and believe we will," Faye said.
"These games are usually more about who wants it more and who plays harder because no team gets to practice a lot. So very tough games are awaiting us in Maputo," he said.
Faye did not really want to look ahead too much, but he did say the team is very excited about Senegal hosting the group's second-leg in June and July 2018.
"Playing in front of family, friends and the Senegalese people is awesome. It gives you extra energy, support and love."
Faye is anxious to once again show the Senegal fans that this team has major potential.