CONAKRY - (FIBA AfroBasket 2017) – In the lead-up to the FIBA AfroBasket 2017, we take a closer look at all 16 participating teams competing in the championship running from September 8-16 in the co-host countries of Senegal and Tunisia.
Nike FIBA World Ranking: 92nd
Last participation at FIBA AfroBasket: 1985 (11th place)
Best results in the history of FIBA AfroBasket: 4th place in 1962
Qualified for FIBA AfroBasket 2017: Guinea got a place at FIBA AfroBasket 2017 thanks to a Wild Card.
History/Qualification: Guinea who featured at the maiden edition of FIBA AfroBasket back in 1962, were one of Africa's powerhouses and a regular at the continent's prime basketball event. However, since the mid-1980s the team has declined and have been conspicuously absent from the international scene.
Before now, the West African nation have been to the Final Round of FIBA AfroBasket four times in 1962, 1980, 1983 and 1985 respectively.
Guinea played in the FIBA Africa zone 2 qualifiers along with Cape Verde, Mali and Senegal. They recorded 3-3 in the tournament but it was not enough to earn them an automatic qualification for the Final Round in Senegal-Tunisia as Mali and Senegal had better finishing.
Outlook: The wild card invitation to Guinea has rekindled the Guineans and they feel proud to be heading to the Final Round given the hard fight they put up against powerhouses of African basketball Senegal and Mali in the qualification series.
Head coach Ousmane Tafsir Camara kept nine players from last March FIBA Africa Zone 2 Qualifiers for their FIBA AfroBasket 2017 training camp. He also makes sure to include six new faces in the preliminary squad.
Key players: Ismael Conde and Cedric Mansare will be depended on to take Guinea on a roller coaster with the young players providing the necessary back-up. The two players averaged 13 points per games during the three-team qualifiers and if they replicate the same feat, the West Africans could poise the challenge in their Group C which include co-hosts Tunisia, Rwanda and Cameroon.
Rising Star: Yamoussa Kolontin Camara at 21 is one of the fast rising player in the team. He graduated from the U20 to take a place in the team scoring an accumulated 17 points during the qualifiers. He will be looking to gain experience in the championship.
Possible outcome: Guinea, who had a similar 3-3 record just like Mali in the FIBA Africa Zone 2 qualifiers, showed that they are a strong team that is willing to take on any opponents. However playing against host Tunisia, Rwanda and Cameroon could be a bit daisy. They would need to put up a good fight not to get eliminated from the first round. An upset cannot be ruled out in their games but it would require them to go the extra mile to get further than the first round.