BAMAKO (FIBA U16 African Championship 2017) - The FIBA U16 African Championship 2017 gets underway in three weeks in Mauritius, and Mali are self-proclaiming title contender.
They are aiming to bounce back from a disappointing second-place accomplished two years ago.
At the time, playing as hosts, Mali lost 64-63 Egypt, but now, they say, it's all about winning their first-ever FIBA U16 African Championship.
The FIBA U16 African Championship 2017 will run from July 13-22 in Mauritius, and it serves as a qualifier for the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2018 in Argentina.
"Mali are seen as a role model of the continent’s youth basketball," Kane argued.
"Our country’s U16 women’s side is the most crowned team [in Africa] while the men side is still chasing our first continental trophy," the play-caller added.
"The FIBA U16 African Championship 2017 is a big challenge for me as well as the coaching crew as we will be making our first continental debut.
"It was a good thing for us to start preparations earlier. We played warm-up games against some local based sides. At a higher level, we faced off Algeria U16 national side and a Utah Basketball team of the same age category.
"It was a great experience which helped us to be aware of the task above us. But we achieved a lot through these games"
So far teams qualified includes, Mauritius, Rwanda, Egypt, Mali, Angola and Algeria.