DAKAR (FIBA AfroBasket 2017) - It has been 20 years since Senegal won the FIBA AfroBasket title and near-failed attempts in the last four years speak louder than words and at the 2017 edition, they will renew their title ambitions like never before.
From September 8-10, Senegal will battle it out with Egypt, Mozambique and South Africa for the two available slots to the Quarter-Finals.
Major talking point: Senegal tip off the tournament with home advantage and will be looking to maximize every aspect that comes with playing in front of a home crowd and loved ones.
The current squad feels that it is about time they brought an end to their trophy-less account since the turn of the century with their last title coming in 1997.
With Spanish tactician Porfirio Fisac at the helm to drive their ambitions, Senegal will need to dig very deep to challenge 11 record-time champions Angola, the reigning champions Nigeria and co-hosts Tunisia.
Absentees: Fisac has kept most of his squad that contested for a place at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Head-to-head dating back to 2005: 1-2 record against Egypt, 2-0 mark against Mozambique, 2-0 against South Africa.
Key Player: Gorgui Dieng, Maurice Ndour and Clevin Hannah.
The bottom line: It is about time Senegal returned to their former glory. Now is the time and with a very experienced squad, they should be challenging the big boys for the African crown.
Major talking point: Even though Egypt last won the African title in 1983, they are not a side to be undermined. Three decades on, they challenged for the title only to fall to Angola in the Final.
Two years later, Angola once again stopped them in their tracks on the journey to the top in a disappointing 83-63 Quarter-Final loss but they still managed to finish fifth. To be considered the best, Egypt have to face their old fears and see off opposition from the traditional powerhouses including Angola, Tunisia and the reigning champions Nigeria.
Absentees: Ehab Amin and Asem Marei.
Head-to-head dating back to 2005: 1-0 against Mozambique, 2-1 against Senegal, 0-1 against South Africa.
Key Player: Youssef Aboushousha, Ibrahim El Gammal and Haytham Khalifa.
The bottom line: With a blend of experience and youthful exuberance, Egypt have a balanced side to run the floor and dominate games according to their strengths.
The first hurdle will be to qualify out of the Group Phase and how they proceed thereafter will be another task altogether. They will need to borrow from their experience at the 2013 edition in Cote d'Ivoire.
Major talking point: Mozambique could emerge as the dark horses of Group D. Even though they failed to make it to the Quarter-Finals two years ago, the ''Mambas'' are not a side to be taken for granted.
Inaki Garcia's side is among the shortest teams at the continental tournament and when they come up against one of the tallest in Senegal and Egypt, they will need to run the floor to stand a chance of progressing.
Absentees: Augusto Matos
Head-to-head dating back to 2005: 0-2 against Senegal, 0-2 against Egypt, never faced South Africa at this tournament.
Key Player: Octavio Magolico
The bottom line: Since the turn of the century, Mozambique have not qualified for the Quarter-Finals and at the 2017 edition, they will be looking to change this and set a new agenda.
However, it will not come easy but winning the Southern African derby against their neighbors South Africa will go a long way to help them achieve this.
Major talking point: South Africa return to the FIBA AfroBasket for the first time since 2011 and a lot has changed since then.
However, if their strong character exemplified in the Zone 6 Qualifiers is anything to go by then they will be out to set Group D on fire.
With the renowned Craig Gilchrist at the helm of the ''Proteas'', they have a tough task at hard against very experienced sides that boast of big ambitions. The urge to make a name could push them above their limits.
Absentees: Somusa Mthembu
Head-to-head dating back to 2005: 1-0 against Egypt, 3-6 against Mozambique, 0-2 against Senegal.
Key Player: Neo Mothiba
The bottom line: The highlight really will be when South Africa takes on Mozambique in the Southern Africa derby. It will go a long way in helping them achieve their objective at the competition.