COGNAC (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers) - As one of the two teams - along with the Democratic Republic of Congo - that lost all three of their games in the first-leg of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers, Guinea remain upbeat about their chances in the competition.
“We are going to Tunisia to turn things around and show our fans and shareholders back home that basketball has a future in Guinea. Our goal is to show everyone that we can qualify for the Second Round and also prove that basketball has a place in a football-loving Guinea."
"Of course we have a chance to qualify for the Second Round. In November, we had only players from the FIBA AfroBasket 2017. It was a new team, and we weren’t prepared," he explained.
Ever since Guinea returned to FIBA AfroBasket last summer - after more than three decades - basketball hasn't been the same in the Western African country.
"Qualify for the World Cup would be the biggest win in our basketball history. Can we do it? We will be better equipped in June-July than we were in November, and of course, this makes us dream. We are not going to Tunisia to make up numbers."
Conde has been one of his national team key players in recent years.
After leading his country in scoring and reboundings at FIBA AfroBasket 2017, the man who currently plays for Cognac Basketball in France's NM2 reaffirms his commitment to his national team.
“Playing for my country means everything to me. It makes me proud, it’s like I am serving my country the best way that I can.
“Hopefully, we are going to bring most of the players from the FIBA AfroBasket, which will give us better and bigger chances than we had in November."
Asked to elaborate the impact of the African Qualifiers - a competition that gathers 16 countries from all corners of Africa - in Guinea basketball, Conde said: "It’s crazy to think that two years ago, no-one seemed to care about Guinea basketball. But with World Cup Qualifiers, we couldn’t have a better chance of transforming the game in our country. It’s a blessing to be in a position we are now as we can compete for something big for Guinea."
And playing alongside older brother Georges Mahatma Gandhi Conde makes things even better, the younger Conde says.
"I love my brother,and playing with him in the national team is an experience that you can’t explain by words," he concluded.