CAYENNE (FIBA Women’s AfroBasket 2017) – Cameroon women’s basketball team captain Priscilla Mbiandja has revealed that performing better than they did two years ago at the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket 2017 is their main target.
Mbiandja’s side were finalists but lost to eventual winners and record time champions Senegal in a thrilling final in front of their home fans in Yaounde.
“I think we are our own target. We are competing against ourselves. Our goal is to do better than we did two years ago.” - Mbiandja
Cameroon have been drawn in Group A along with continental powerhouses Mali, Angola, Tunisia, Cote d’Ivoire and a yet-to-be-disclosed country that will be awarded a wild card.
Away from 11-time record champions and reigning winners Senegal, Mozambique, Nigeria, upcoming Egypt, Guinea and the winner of the Zone 4 qualifiers in Group B, Mbiandja insists they too have a challenge in their pooling.
"Do not forget that Angola and Mali are known among the powerhouses in Africa. Cote d'Ivoire in the past has created some upsets in competitions and won the Francophone Games four years ago. Tunisia, for the most part, have been improving and who knows this year may be coming with an even better team," Mbiandja pointed out.
"I do not feel relieved. On the contrary, I am aware that the job will be tough but like I said it is all about preparations. If you are not prepared for the competition, it does not matter what group you belong to, you will not have a good performance."
The 12-team biennial competition gets underway in the Malian capital of Bamako from August 18-27 at the Palais des Sports Salamatou Maiga and is a qualifier for the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2018 in Spain.
Cameroon will be looking to book a slot to the world showpiece, however, getting there will entail such determination and commitment to get to the top.
"If we are to achieve our target, we shall have to show up like at every competition, and play with heart and determination. I hope that my teammates this year will keep that in mind and we will bring that with us every single time we step on the court,” the 5ft 8in (1.73m) guard explained.
Wearing national colors never ceases to remind Mbiandja that it is a pleasure and honor for her to represent Cameroon.
She said emphatically: "Every competition is very important to me, and so is defending the color of my country. Like I said before, it is an honor and privilege.
"Also, it will be a good test for me on a personal level playing against some of the best players from other countries. I am looking forward to it."
Mbiandja, who will also represent Cameroon at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2017 in Nantes, France from June 17-21 will join up with her colleagues to prepare for the FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2017.
"I think we are our own target. We are competing against ourselves. Our goal is to do better than we did two years ago,” she emphasized.
Cameroon will have to dig deep from the experience attained in Yaounde in 2015 with inspiration from the home fans and hope to replicate that on foreign territory.