MAPUTO (FIBA AfroBasket 2017) - Spaniard Inaki Garcia is back at the helm of Mozambique for the FIBA AfroBasket 2017.
It will be Garcia's third stint in charge of Mozambique since 2011 when they finished in 10th-place.
Although Mozambique media outlets had reported his appointment a couple of weeks ago, Garcia said to FIBA.basketball "now, it's official. I am going to lead the team at AfroBasket. I couldn't commit before because there were a number of pending issues."
The announcement came a few hours after Mozambique were drawn in the upcoming FIBA AfroBasket 2017 Group D alongside Senegal, Egypt and South Africa.
Garcia led Mozambique to an 11th-place at FIBA AfroBasket 2015. He replaces Macome Milagre - the mastermind behind Mozambique's successful FIBA Africa Zone 6 qualifiers in March.
"Mozambique has become my adoptive country," Garcia replied when asked about his commitment to Mozambique. "This is more than a professional relationship. This is a project, which began in 2009, and I am determined to help basketball grow in Mozambique," he explained.
In their attempt to improve their FIBA AfroBasket record, Mozambique would need to have a successful Group Phase campaign in Dakar as the top two teams from each group will advance to Tunis, which will also host the Final Phase (Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and Finals) from September 14-16.
Garcia admits that playing in Dakar will be tough, although he refuses to throw in the towel.
"This FIBA AfroBasket is going to be challenging for us because it convenes stronger teams than us. Senegal will play at home, and they have already shown their high level. It is going to be tough to beat them in their home.
"We have to continue competing as much as we can in order to close the competitiveness gap between the two teams."
Dakar will host Group B and D from September 8-10, while teams drawn in groups A and C will compete in Tunis.