BAMAKO - There are a lot of reasons why FIBA's Competition System 2017+ is generating a lot of enthusiasm among Mali players and officials.
Ibrahim Djambo, for instance, has never played on the world stage, but with the implementation of the sytem coming into effect in November, he dares to dream about playing at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.
"Mali is becoming one of the African powerhouses, so playing home and away games will increase numbers and that's what our partners need." - Sidibe
"It's a great thing for us," said Djambo who has recently helped Mali qualify for the FIBA AfroBasket 2017. "Who doesn't want to play in such a big event? I certainly hope to. Mali has never played in the World Cup, but with five spots available for African teams, we have a big chance to make history and qualify."
The windows for the World Cup qualifying will be 20-28 November, 19-27 February (2018), 25 June to 3 July, 10-18 September, 26 November to 4 December and 20-28 February (2019).
"Those changes make this coming FIBA AfroBasket even more special," Djambo said. "That will allow teams to come together often. In seven months, you will meet twice."
Meanwhile, Sidibe detailed why the initiative makes him optimistic about the future of the game in Mali.
"After the FIBA AfroBasket 2017 Qualifiers in Bamako, I clearly realised that the New Competition System is what we need more to promote the game," Sidibe noted.
Under the system, FIBA will provide high-level TV production.
"It will draw more attention from the government and I am sure that we will have a pretty good product for our sponsors," Sidibe went on. "Mali is becoming one of the African powerhouses, so playing home and away games will increase numbers and that’s what our partners need."