BAMAKO (FIBA AfroBasket 2017) - Cedric Mansare has been huge for Guinea throughout the first leg of FIBA Africa Zone 2 qualifiers, and, his words he is chasing history.
Not only he averaged 22 points in two games against Mali and continental powerhouse Senegal, but he has also become the game-changer for Guinea, a team chasing their first FIBA AfroBasket appearance since 1985, the year Mansare was born.
The son of a Guinean father and a French mother, Mansare insists he has been representing Guinea to make history.
“I want to help Guinea secure qualification for this year’s FIBA AfroBasket,” he explained to FIBA.com.
This year’s continental showpiece will take place in the Republic of Congo’s capital city of Brazzaville from August 19-30.
So far things are looking good for Guinea, who finished the first leg of the regional qualifier in Bamako as the top of the group with a 2-1 record.
Although they lost to Cape Verde on Sunday, Mansare, who plays for Union Dax-Gamarde (UDG) in France’s National 2, remains upbeat.
“We had a good start in the group B qualifiers and I am confident that we can make it to Congo-Brazzaville if we keep on playing as a team. We have to do it for our fans who have been waiting for a very long time.”
Born in France, Mansare feels he has a duty of honouring his ancestors by playing his best. “It is always great to honour and sacrifice for the flag of my country,” the 1.98m forward noted.
When asked to elaborate the level of competitiveness of the tournament, he replied: “There are high-level games as most teams consist of local and foreign-based players. This is a positive and I believe that African teams will make big noise at world stage in years to come.”
The FIBA Africa Zone 2 qualifier switch to Dakar for the second leg where from March 24-26, Mali, Guinea, Senegal and Cape Verde will resume their battle for the two tickets on offer for the FIBA AfroBasket 2017.