SHEFFIELD (Julio Chitunda's African Message) - Over the course of the last 12 months, many basketball moments took place across the African continent, and as the 2017 campaign comes to a close, it is time to recall the most significant ones.
There is no shortage of memorable moments produced along the way.
Here’s a look at four events of the 2017 season.
1. FIBA U19 World Championship
While Canada took Cairo by a storm by claiming their first world title, Africa was represented - for the first time - by more than two countries: Angola, Egypt and Mali.
Although none of the three African teams finished above the 12th Place, the continent champions Angola showed a tremendous tenacity in the Group Phase only losing to eventual finalist Italy on overtime.
2. FIBA AfroBasket hosted in two different countries
For the very first time, FIBA Africa's prime competition was held in two different countries. Tunisia and Senegal replaced original host the Republic of Congo, who withdrew from their hosting rights two months prior to the 16-team tournament.
Tunisia claimed their first African title since 2011, beating then reigning champions Nigeria in the Final, while Senegal returned home with their second Third-Place in the last three editions of the tournament.
Twelve years after their last continental title, Nigeria put together their most talented team in recent years, beating then defending champions Senegal to win the biennial FIBA Women's AfroBasket in Bamako, Mali.
4. FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers
FIBA's new competition system has only started in November, but African basketball followers have already started to feel the excitement it brings during the first games of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Africa Qualifiers.
Eight national teams from Groups A and C have played 24 games in two different countries (Angola and Cameroon), and a sellout crowd of 11,000 - the second highest in African basketball history - showed up to see hosts Angola taking on Egypt at the emblematic Kilamba Arena on the outskirts of the Angolan capital of Luanda.
So far, African champions Tunisia and Angola remain undefeated in three games each.
Groups B and D will open their qualifying campaigns in February in Bamako and Mozambique.
Over the next year and a half, 16 African countries will continue fighting for the five tickets on offer for Africa for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.
By Julio Chitunda for FIBA.com