KINSHASA (FIBA AfroBasket 2017)- Papy Kiembe, the head coach of Democratic Republic of Congo's men's team hopes the qualification for FIBA AfroBasket 2017 will entice more foreign-based players to consider playing for the country.
Already NBA stars Bismack Biyombo of the Orlando Magic and the Denver Nuggets' Emmanuel Mudiay have pledged their allegiance to DR Congo, a move that has drummed up excitement across the country and on the African continent.
This is a new era that opens up the possibility of attracting Congolese players from abroad.Kiembe
Speaking to FIBA.com, Kiembe said: "This is a new era that opens up the possibility of attracting Congolese players from abroad and even those in the NBA. Playing at the continental showpiece for the first time since 2007, this qualification has been received with open hands and there is a thrill of enthusiasm oozing from the technical bench about the possibilities this could bring to change the status quo.
"It gives hope to young people to believe in their potential because the Democratic Republic of Congo is full of talent. And Bismack[Biyombo] is the best example. He contributes to the promotion of Congolese basketball. He is also in contact with the technical staff and the federation and he will be part of the team in August."
At the end of the NBA season, Biyombo will meet up with Mudiay to tip off practice sessions in preparation for the showdown but meanwhile, according to Kiembe, preparations are already underway back home with the locally based players in action.
"The preparation has already started with local players. We shall merge with the expatriates in June," he revealed.
The excitement cannot be hidden from Kiembe's face and he added: "I am very happy to return to the Final Round of the FIBA AfroBasket since Angola 2007, that is 10 years."
Biyombo has mentioned that he wants to win games at the FIBA AfroBasket, a statement that reflects his hunger for success that will be embraced by his new teammates.