SHEFFIELD (Julio Chitunda's African Message) - Spaniard Porfirio Fisac has been confirmed as head coach of Senegal for the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Manila, but the agreement raises more questions than answers.
While Moustapha Gaye remains in charge of Senegal's women’s national team, Fisac - who didn't attend the ceremony - replaced Cheikh Sarr at the helm of the men's side.
However, a month has passed since his appointment and Fisac doesn't look or act as if he was in charge of the team. Over the past few weeks, I have contacted him several times, but he successively refused to talk about his new job with Senegal.
I am not sure how the negotiations with Fisac developed, but the tactician neither denies, nor confirms that he is the head coach of Senegal.
This episode reminds me of Frenchman Herve Coudray, who was announced as head coach of Mali's women's national team in March 2015, but did not confirm the agreement until June of that year.
At the time I exchanged several messages with Coudray but he refused to disclose any plans with the Malians until he received his signed contract from the Malian Basketball Federation and travelled to Bamako for the team's preparations.
He led the team during AfroBasket Women 2015 qualifiers against Guinea, but a month before the main event began, Coudray was on his way back to France for alleged disagreements with the federation.
Nevertheless, the only thing Fisac is comfortable to talk about these days is his current job. Last December he replaced Jaume Ponsarnau at the helm of Gipuzkoa Basket Club in Spain's topflight.
At the time, Fisac was seen as the right man to rescue the club from a poor start to the season - they lost eight games in as many games to start the 2015-16 campaign. Four months on though, Gipuzkoa Basket Club remains bottom of the ACB with a 4-20 mark.
Senegal claimed a fourth-place at AfroBasket 2015 in Rades, Tunisia, last August. The Western Africans are aiming to qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics via the Manila OQT taking place from 5-10 July. They will take on Turkey and Canada in Group A, and of they finish in top two of their Group Phase they would face one of the top two teams from Group B which consists of France, New Zealand and the Philippines.
The winners of the two Semi-Finals will then play each other for Olympic qualification.
Therefore Fisac seems to be the man to guide Senegal to its first Olympics appearance since 1980.
But he has a lot more to worry about these days.
"Right now I can't talk about the Senegal national team because I am under contract with my club. My team has a lot of problems in the competition this season, and I am working to improve things," he told me last week.
I can’t say anything about Senegal players, preparations for the Olympic qualifiers. The General Manager of Senegal Basketball Federation is the right person to discuss the national team plans. Maybe one day I can talk about Senegal, but right now there is nothing to talk about it. - Fisac
I really want to believe that Fisac did apply for the job, and his personal circumstances have changed along the way, but right now, I don't feel any commitment from Fisac to Senegal’s national team.