MAPUTO (FIBA Africa Champions Cup for Women 2016) - This year’s FIBA Africa Champions Cup for Women (ACCW) is still four weeks away, but hosts Ferroviario de Maputo are making sure to be ready to take on the best clubs in Africa.
And by bringing Mozambican internationals Elisabeth Pereira and Dionilde Cuamba as well as the arrival of Spaniard Inaki Garcia to the coaching staff, Ferroviario de Maputo made it clear of their ACCW aspirations.
Pereira and Cuamba are expected to spark the Mozambican champions in a tournament that local fans hope to celebrate the ACCW crown for the second time since 2012 when Desportivo de Maputo won the tournament in Abidjan, Maputo.
Ever since Pereira and Cuamba made their debut with the senior team at last year's FIBA AfroBasket Women, the two rising stars continue to impress, and the ACCW could be an opportunity to show how Mozambique women's basketball is filled with talents despite the retirement of some big names like Clarisse Machanguana and Deolinda Ngulela.
If veterans Anabela Cossa, Rute Muianga and Odelia Mafanela are healthy enough, last year’s ACCW bronze medallists Ferroviario have reasons to remain optimistic.
On Wednesday, the club informed that Garcia, who is highly regarded in Mozambique basketball circles, will work as an adviser to Ferroviario’s coaching team at the 12-team ACCW next month.
He was the man in charge of Mozambique’s senior men’s national team at FIBA AfroBasket 2015 - he also coached the team at AfroBasket 2011 - and was a team advisor at the FIBA Africa Championships for Women 2016 in Cairo where the Southern Africans finished in 3rd-Place.
Meanwhile, following the cancellation of ACCW Zone 6 Qualifier, which was due to take place in Luanda this coming weekend, reigning champions Primeiro D’Agosto and InterClube de Luanda were granted automatic qualification for the Maputo showdown.
They will be joined by First Bank of Nigeria, Togolese champions Etoile Filante, Kenya Ports Authority and the United States International University (USIU).
According to FIBA Africa, in early November two clubs will qualify from the ACCW Zone 4, which includes teams from DR Congo, Republic of Congo, Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Gabon.
Three other clubs will be awarded wildcard invitations.