RABAT (FIBA AfroBasket 2017) – Morocco veteran point guard Mustapha Khalfi has admitted that his side will have to dig deep to do well at the upcoming FIBA AfroBasket 2017 in Senegal and Tunisia from September 8-16.
"At the FIBA AfroBasket, there is no easy group. Every team prepares as good as possible and they will all fight to progress from the first round so we have to respect all teams," the 5ft10in (1.78m) Khalfi told FIBA.basketball.
Khalfi, who will be playing at his sixth FIBA AfroBasket, is keen to sign out on a high note and so will almost half of his teammates.
It will give Morocco more motivation to qualify for the Quarter-Finals and leave Dakar for Tunis, a venue that did not bear much fruition at the 2015 edition as they finished 13th but rather an opportunity for redemption this time around.
“Tunisia is like home for us. It is almost the same culture and food so it is an advantage for us and we were happy for it. It is better than playing in Angola especially because we are in the same group.”- Khalfi
For Khalfi and his teammates, they will need to be on top of their game to achieve their set targets but they find themselves with their backs against the wall at the moment with no friendly games lined up and are yet to tip off their training camp.
With five weeks to the continental showpiece, Morocco will have to rely heavily on commitment and the urge to be among the elite teams in the tournament but they will indeed face a stern test.
"Tunisia is like home for us. It is almost the same culture and food so it is an advantage for us and we were happy for it. It is better than playing in Angola especially because we are in the same group."
The 37-year old's experience will come in handy as Morocco look to finish above sixth place for the first time since 2005.
Morocco's last two podium places coincidentally came in front of their home crowd including 1980 in Rabat as well as Casablanca in 1968. Their sole continental victory came in 1965 in Tunisia after they finished second and third in 1964 (Casablanca) and 1962 (Cairo) respectively.