CAIRO (2016 FIBA Africa U18 Women's Championship) - Mozambique have reached the Quarter-Finals of the 2016 FIBA Africa U18 Women’s Championship, and Silvia Veloso is setting high goals at the ongoing event in Cairo, Egypt.
Veloso talked to FIBA.com about that pursuit as well as other topics, including her WNBA dreams.
FIBA.com: How can you summarise Mozambique's Group Phase campaign?
Veloso: We had a tough start as we lost to defending champions Mali. But we find the strength to fight back and finished the preliminary round with two straight wins. That's good for us. After the Group Phase, I can say that the tournament is not so bad as everyone is fighting for a win.
FIBA.com: What is your team's ambition in the event?
Veloso: We target one [of the two] spots [for African teams] for next year's FIBA U19 Women’s Championship. We are lucky to make it to the Quarter-Finals but we need to improve our game to make this dream come true. It's been a while since Mozambique last featured at an international level competition and I think we have the means to reach the Semi-Finals and [potentially] battle for at least the third place.
FIBA.com: Could you tell us which teams could challenge Mozambique in the tournament?
Veloso: As I said, we made it to Cairo with the aim of qualifying for the U19 worlds. However, we are aware that it will not be easy. We are not favourite as there are teams like Mali - the strongest team in the tournament - Angola and hosts Egypt, who have the home court advantage. It will be difficult to deny them a place in the Final-Four… But we are going to remain focused on our target and play with our best weapons.
FIBA.com: Can you share with us your basketball aspirations?
Veloso: I am dreaming big (she smiles)… The most important thing for the moment is to listen to my coaches and continue working hard. And I hope this process could lead me to the WNBA. I have got some good feedback from my performances but I have to be focused because I have a lot to learn. It’s obvious that I am now close to the senior national team, so there is no time for rest.