PARIS (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019) - Central African Republic (CAF)'s Michael Mokongo has recently reminded everyone that he is prepared to do anything in his power to give his country a chance of becoming a continental powerhouse they once were.
"If we reach the Quarter-Finals, then anything is possible because we want to pay back to our country with a continental medal - Mokongo
The 30-year-old point guard sparked his country with averages of 21 points and 7 assists as they saw off Chad and Zimbabwe to secure the last qualifying spot for the FIBA AfroBasket 2017.
And, as a result, the winners of the 1987 edition of FIBA AfroBasket earned a place in the FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifiers.
So, where did Mokongo get so much energy from and what kept him motivated him in Bamako, is what he explained to FIBA.com upon his return to Paris.
"Our country has been through a civil war in recent years, and the best thing we could give our countrymen and women was our presence in AfroBasket. At least, they have something to cheer about," the 5ft11in (1.80m) said.
After losing to the Democratic Republic of Congo in March, CAF were on the brink of missing out their first FIBA AfroBasket since 1999.
However, the Republic of Congo stepped down as hosts of this year's FIBA AfroBasket host and, as a result, were disqualified. With a number of national teams keen on filling the void left by the Republic of Congo, FIBA Africa announced an Additional Qualifier in Bamako, where Mokongo and Co breathed a sigh of relief.
"It was a tough competition. We went to Bamako, believing that we had the potential to qualify," Mokongo said. "Even though we had no preparation whatsoever, I was happy that our team spirit and desire to win spoke louder.
"It's about time to pay back to our country. I will do everything I can to persuade Romain Sato, Maxime Zianveni and James Mays to play for us again. We have good players, but these three would improve our chances even more at AfroBasket and the world cup qualifiers."
The FIBA AfroBasket 2017 is expected to take place in Angola, and Mokongo feels he can help his country to back on top of Africa again.
"If we reach the Quarter-Finals, then anything is possible because we want to pay back to our country with a continental medal," said Mokongo, a free-agent who last played for JL Bourg Basket in France's Pro B.
Meanwhile, in February 2018, CAF will try to secure one of the five tickets for African teams for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 taking on Group D opponents Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal and Mozambique.
"Senegal and Cote d'Ivoire don't need an introduction to anyone, they have already proven how great teams they are, but we'll do everything in our power to qualify for China. That's our goal for sure," Mokongo offered.