LUANDA (FIBA AfroBasket 2017) - Angolan international Reggie Moore believes his country has everything it needs to regain the top spot in African basketball as soon as the FIBA AfroBasket 2017.
The latest FIBA World Ranking Men saw Angola drop eight places to 23rd in the world and fall to third in Africa behind Nigeria and Tunisia. However, the veteran Angolan forward insists they are not backing down.
And Angola's triumph at the FIBA Africa U18 Championship two months ago is what Moore sees as the starting point to reach a place where the African powerhouse believe they belong.
"You have to rely on the young generation to continue the tradition," Moore explained. "The way they dominated [the latest FIBA Africa U18] just shows that Angolan basketball is not going anywhere. There is a depth of young players both in the [United] States and here in Angola ready to take over and continue to dominate. Once everybody is on the same page, we'll be right back on the top."
Moore has two FIBA AfroBasket appearances under his belt and won the continental title in 2013.
However, he and his team-mates were unable to deny Nigeria in the Final of FIBA AfroBasket 2015 and as a result the Southern Africans missed out on direct qualification for the Olympics for the second time in a row.
Yet, Moore feels the Angolans aren't done yet.
"I don't agree with the FIBA Ranking. We lost to Nigeria once and lost to Tunisia once (AfroBasket 2011). We have been beating those teams for years and years. Does that make the ranking correct? I don't think so. But that's what AfroBasket and international tournaments are for. We'll be the ones to have the last word when those tournaments come around," he insisted.
The Angolans are currently experiencing a transition process between generations. At 35, Moore was the team's oldest player at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Belgrade, but also its top performer in the Serbian capital.
And he has no plans to retire from the national team just yet.
"Every team that goes through transitions has to ease in the new players. That's what we tried to do at the Pre-Olympic tournament and I thought it showed a little bit, with the two generations playing together," he recalled.
"Now, it's all about getting the young guys experience and get ready for AfroBasket next year - that's the major tournament - and that's where we want to show that we are still the dominant team in Africa.
"As far as I know I'll play the AfroBasket next year. As one of the older guys on the team, I know that that could be my last AfroBasket, but I am not sure, it just depends on the coach, the federation and also health wise. From there, you just don't know because of the new generation coming in."
After playing professionally in Spain, Denmark, Israel, and Germany, the California-born Moore settled down in Angola in 2008.
"They are both home to me," he said of Angola and the USA. "I don't really put one above the other. I feel comfortable in both. My family is living with me in Angola now and that makes it a lot better. That's all about where you feel comfortable, where you feel loved and respected."