PARIS (FIBA AfroBasket Women 2017) - Touty Gandega is following in the footsteps of her older sister Diana Gandega who has represented Mali in three editions of FIBA AfroBasket Women from 2009 to 2015.
The young Gandega, born to a Malian family in Paris and has played for France youth national teams, has agreed to represent the country of her parents at FIBA AfroBasket Women 2017, which will take place in the Malian capital city of Bamako (15-24 September).
"I think the first goal is to win the title. The FIBA AfroBasket Women will take place in Bamako, on our home soil and we can't make any mistakes," she told FIBA.com.
Gandega can't wait to join the Mali and explained why.
''This year I have decided to be at the disposal of Mali. I'm 25, and I think it's the right moment to make the decision of playing for Mali. And I am really motivated to participate in the FIBA AfroBasket Women in front of our home fans," she explained.
She admits that Diana inspired her decision to play for Mali.
"Since my childhood, my sister Diana talked with me about Mali's national team. She is the best role model for me and I am definitely happy to join the national team. It matters a lot to me because I will play in front of my family with the home fans cheering for us."
Touty and Diana are seen on this tweet post facing each other.
"I got injured during a practice with my club. It was mentally difficult for me as I worked hard all summer to be ready for the season and in one second everything collapsed. On the spot, I was devastated because of leaving my team on the side. But with the support of my family and my friends, I was able to overcome this test. Because I am not a girl who dropped my arms easily. It really hurts but we don’t have time to cry. We just need to get up and move forward, "she said.
After a successful surgery, she is confident to go back to action.
''I am confident that I will be ready on time for the FIBA AfroBasket Women 2017 as the recovery process is going well,’’ Gandega said.
Known for her aggressive defense and dribbling ability, Gandega will certainly be a plus to the Mali team if she is shortlisted to Mali’s final roster for the Bamako showpiece.