JOHANNESBURG (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: 77th.
Last participation at FIBA AfroBasket : 2011 (14th place)
Best results in the history of FIBA AfroBasket : 9th place in Senegal ’97
Qualified for FIBA AfroBasket 2017 : South Africa qualified for the FIBA AfroBasket as the 14th national team despite a 70-68 loss to Zimbabwe in Johannesburg in the FIBA Africa Zone 6 play off.
History/Qualification: South Africa are one of FIBA's youngest members, as they joined the world basketball governing body back in 1992. Yet, they qualified for every FIBA Africa Championship from 1997 and 2011 with a return to the continental showpiece again this year.
Outlook: Head coach Craig Gilchrist has done well to get the team back to the top championship on the continent. He knows at the back of his mind that his crop of young players did their best to qualify and paid tribute to his players.
"I was very proud of our players. They showed great determination for a really young team, and the three veterans showed great leadership,'' the former South African international told FIBA.basketball.
He hopes that when the championship gets underway, his boys would be ready to get cracking.
Key player: Neo Mothiba will be making his five appearance at FIBA Africa's most important basketball event. If he stays injury-free, the 6ft7in (2.00m) forward could play a pivotal role as he did during the FIBA Africa zone 6 qualifiers.
Mothiba, who was the team's second leading scorer at the 2011 edition said recently:'' qualifying for FIBA AfroBasket 2017 is very important for South Africa and we will give all our best to make some noise at the Final Round.''
Rising star: Miguel Ferrao adds his European basketball experience. Born in Johannesburg, the 21-year-old has represented Portugal at youth European Championships.
Possible outcome: Three months after sealing a historic qualification for the FIBA AfroBasket 2017, South Africa celebrated when they stormed into the Chinese city of Guangzhou to beat India 88-75 in the Third-Place Game of the inaugural BRICS Games 2017.
The win followed losses to China (91-60) and BRICS Games 2017 champions Russia (74-45). South Africa's BRICS Games 2017 campaign couldn't have been any better for a team looking to make a splash at this year's FIBA AfroBasket 2017.