SHEFFIELD (Julio Chitunda's Message) - With the FIBA AfroBasket 2017 fast approaching, it's about time to relive some of the biggest shots that changed the course of the competition in recent years.
They may not be the flashiest shots, but the truth is the FIBA AfroBasket could have looked like completely different to what it is now.
1. Ibrahima Thomas (Senegal v Nigeria), FIBA AfroBasket 2013
Although Tunisia were the reigning champions, Nigeria were not only the team most teams tried to avoid, but they were also the strongest title contender. Nigeria reached the FIBA AfroBasket 2013 Quarter-Finals undefeated in four games, however, in one of the most anticipated games of the tournament, beating Senegal proved quite a challenge for the Nigerians.
With a post-up move, Ibrahima Thomas hit the game-winning shot that ended Nigeria's dream of winning their first continental championship. 64-63 was the final score, yet Senegal didn't seem the same in the semis losing 70-63 to Egypt.
2. Milton Barros (Angola v Cameroon), FIBA AfroBasket 2011
In what has been arguably the most incredible FIBA AfroBasket game in recent years, Angola's Milton Barros became the unsung hero.
Coming from an 85-78 Group Phase defeat to Senegal, and following the sacking of head coach Michel Gomez midway through the tournament, Angola knew they were racing against the clock. And facing Cameroon in the Quarter-Finals couldn’t have come at the worst moment.
Angola trailed 76-71 with ten seconds remaining. Then, Milton Barros, who was originally unavailable due to a last-minute health issue, came off the bench to become the game - and maybe the tournament - changer. First, Barros hit a three-pointer that closed the deficit to 76-74. Then he drew a foul against Parfait Bitte, which allowed Angola to inbound for a Felizardo Ambrosio’s layup that took the game to overtime at 76-76. In the remaining five minutes, Carlos Morais sealed Angola's 84-83 victory from the charity stripe.
Despite the struggles, Angola reached the final but finished runners-up.
3. Antoine Mendy (Senegal v Angola), FIBA AfroBasket 2015
Although Angola reached the final against Nigeria, that Group Phase defeat resurfaced Angola's demons. Angola rarely lost in the Group Phase, but when they did, the consequences tended to be detrimental. Two defeats to Senegal in Group Phase resulted in Angola finishing runners-up on two occasions (2011 and 2015).
4. Mourad El Mabrouk (Tunisia v Morocco), FIBA AfroBasket 2015
He later described the shot as "the biggest shot in my basketball career. I don’t know how I managed to stay so calm to hit that shot, but we couldn’t lose that game. I will remember that shot for the rest of my life."
This year's FIBA AfroBasket will be co-hosted by Senegal and Tunisia from September, 8-16.