Now, things look a lot brighter and as they prepare to host the tournament next summer, the Malians are emerging among front-runners and have proclaimed themselves as candidates to win the trophy not only because of the home-court advantage but also because they currently have at their disposal some of most talented players in years.
"Our goal is to win a new crown in 2017 and make the pride of Mali even greater." - Sidibe
Having participated in a number of continental competitions as well as world events, players like Djeneba N'diaye, Salimatou Kourouma and Adama Coulibaly cannot really complain of lack of international experience.
And, in addition to that, veteran players like Djene Diawara, Naignouma Coulibaly and Djenebou Sissoko will get a second chance at winning the title that slipped away from their grasp five years ago when they lost to Angola in the Semi-Finals.
Although teams like Egypt, Mozambique, Senegal and Nigeria could challenge Mali's journey to a first continental crown since 2007, it is the spirit of confidence among players and officials that makes the Western Africans a strong contender.
Mali's FIBA AfroBasket Women's ambitions were recently affirmed by the President of the country's basketball federation, Jean Claude Sidibe, who told local media: "2017 coincides with the 10th anniversary of our last title. Our goal is to win a new crown in 2017 and make the pride of Mali even greater. We count on our supporters to motivate the girls to the coronation."
Even the head of state, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (IBK), seems to be backing the team for next year’s FIBA AfroBasket Women.
"I would like to recall what President IBK said a few months ago, that he wants to make Mali an Angola in terms of basketball," Sidibe said.