CONAKRY (FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2017) - Guinea international Nadia Peruch-Niang believes the country can do a lot better at the upcoming FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2017 than what it did two years ago.
"We for sure want to do better than the last competition in Yaounde. To reach the Quarter-Finals would be a great achievement for us." - Nian
Now Niang - who along with Mariama Djiba Toure led that team in scoring with averages of 14 points per game - says they are aiming to make history by reaching the Quarter-Finals for the very first time.
The FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2017 will take place in Mali from August 18-27.
And Guinea, who qualified for the 12-team event following the withdrawal of Cape Verde, have been drawn in Group B along reigning champions Senegal, Nigeria, Egypt, Mozambique and winner of FIBA Africa Zone 4 to be determined later this month.
Niang spoke to FIBA.com
Guinea will play at Women's AfroBasket for the second time in a row. How significant is this for Guinean basketball?
This is a sign of encouragement for Guinea and also the recognition of the potential of this team. It also rewards all the hard work done by the girls and the federation to maintain and push basketball in Guinea. The competition is fantastic, the girls get to see great players and great teams and they realize the dedication it takes to be successful in competition.
What lessons have Guinea taken from the last FIBA AfroBasket Women? Do you feel you could have done better?
I think we can be proud of the results we had in Yaounde. The team has been through a lot of difficulties (lack of infrastructures and means), so to win those games during the competition and show everyone we could compete was a real achievement. Now, it also shows all the work ahead to become a great African nation of basketball.
Guinea caught some by surprise in Cameroon by playing extremely hard throughout the tournament. What type of game can we expect from Guinea in Mali?
For sure we will have to rely on our main strength: resilience. The girls have the biggest heart and courage I have ever seen and I am sure we need to keep up with this mentality of never giving up to achieve victory. Now, I have not the full visibility on the composition of the team but I already know we can count on tolerance and solidarity to play well as a team.
What are Guinea's goals in Mali?
We for sure want to do better than the last competition in Yaounde. To reach the Quarter-Finals would be a great achievement for us.
The finalists at FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2017 will represent Africa at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2018 in Spain. From your experience, which teams have the better chance of qualifying for the Women's World Cup and why?
I could see Senegal and Mali of course for several reasons. First, they have talented players experienced to international competitions and Mali will also benefit from the home court.