From February 23-25, Mali will host Group B, which includes Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda while in the Mozambican capital of Maputo, the hosts will go up against Cote d'Ivoire, Central African Republic, and Senegal.
Under FIBA's new competition system, there are five places offer for African countries at next year's 32-team FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.
While World Cup regulars Angola, Senegal, Tunisia, and Nigeria, emerge as frontrunners to advance to China, the most frequently asked question among African basketball followers these days is whether there will be a surprise team grabbing one of the five tickets.
And the answer to that question is, yes. Looking back at last November's games, Morocco, Egypt, and Cameroon reminded everyone they can cause some upsets and make it to China.
By June-July, four countries will be eliminated from the race to China 2019 while twelve teams will advance to the second-round of the African Qualifiers to be played in the third qualifying window in September.
Back in November, Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, and Tunisia played the first-leg of Group A in Cameroon's capital of Yaounde, while Angola hosted DR Congo, Egypt, and Morocco in Group C.
Tunisia and Angola closed the first of six windows of the African Qualifiers undefeated in three games, Egypt and Cameroon finished with a 2-1 mark each, Morocco and Chad won one of their three games, respectively, while Guinea and DR Congo returned home winless in three games.
The second-leg of Groups A and C returns from June 29 to July 1 in Tunisia and Egypt.
So, what do players have to say about their World Cup aspirations and what it means to represent their countries in the African Qualifiers on home soil?
Morocco's Adelhakim Zouita:
"There are some great African teams fighting to qualify for the World Cup, and we want one of the five tickets to move on to China."
Boubacar Sidibe of Mali:
"As a basketball country, I must admit that this is our best chance to qualify for the World Cup."
Mozambique guard Baggio Chimonzo:
"It's going to be a positive pressure as our supporters will want us to win at home. But as long as we prepare the team correctly, I'm sure we'll do great."
Cameroon's Kenneth Kadji:
"If we want to qualify for the World Cup, it’s going to take 12 men not one or two individuals. We have some incredible players in the NBA who will be available by June and that is good for the team."
Let the World Cup African Qualifiers resume as Maputo and Bamako prepare to be the homes to African basketball next month.
By Julio Chitunda FIBA.com