BEIRA (FIBA U16 Women’s African Championship 2017) – Hosts Mozambique will have to display their best show when they take on title favourites Mali on Tuesday at the ongoing FIBA U16 Women’s African Championship.
For the home side, the crowd will play their part but the West Africans stand tall on experience, skill and the ability to see out games.
Yet to be challenged at the tournament so far, Mali will come into this game with a lot of confidence and charisma. Wins over Egypt 66-33 and Zimbabwe 112-22 have left them with an aura of ingenuity.
However, Mozambique captain Noemia Massingue told FIBA.basketball that, “Every time we step onto the court, we give our very best and today will be the same. We shall focus on us and doing the best for our country.”
“We are ready as a team. I feel like we have to win this because the tournament is at home. We were given an opportunity to play at home in a familiar setting that we did not have and so we have to use it."Massingue
Mozambique set the pace going in their opener against neighbors Zimbabwe winning 49-38 but a loss to Angola in the Lusophone derby 64-57 has their win ratio at 1-1 and they are keen to improve this going into today's game.
The 16-year old emphasized, “We are ready as a team. I feel like we have to win this because the tournament is at home. We were given an opportunity to play at home in a familiar setting that we did not have and so we have to use it."
Mozambique coach Lucilia Caetano expects a positive response from her players as she eyes a place in the Final ultimately but first the hurdle that is Mali, a test that will call for maximum concentration.
The top four teams from the round-robin stage will play in the Semi-Finals with the winners proceeding to the Final and with that, qualification for the FIBA U17 Women's World Cup in Minsk, Belarus.