KINSHASA (FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2017 Qualifiers) - The Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic (CAF) face off over two games on Saturday and Sunday (June 17 and 18) with the winner claiming the one FIBA Africa Zone 4 qualifying spot on offer for FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2017.
The home side DR Congo has not competed at the biennial continental showpiece for six years now with their last appearance coming in 2011 when they finished seventh.
As if to make for a befitting return to FIBA Africa's women's flagship tournament, defeating CAF will come in handy for a perfect return to Mali.
With most of their 2011 squad long gone, DR Congo boast a new set of young and experienced players that are seeking the rebirth of a nation yearning to return to their glory days.
Prior to missing out on the 2013 and 2015 editions, they qualified for six straight FIBA Women's AfroBasket editions including 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011 and also featured at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics as well as the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup in 1983 in Brazil and 1990 in Malaysia.
It is this success over the past three decades that will be motivation for the home side when they face a rather strong and determined CAF side that last competed at the FIBA Women's AfroBasket in 1974 where they finished sixth and claimed a Third-Place finish in 1966 at their debut appearance.
CAF in their own right have been out of the big picture for long and the hungrier side will complete the FIBA Women's AfroBasket Group A along with Hosts Mali, Cameroon, Tunisia, Cote d'Ivoire and Angola.
The last slot for the 12-team competition will be allocated through the allocation of a wild card. So far the qualified teams include: champions Senegal, Angola, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, Guinea, hosts Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tunisia.
The competition will take place from August 18 - 27.