LUANDA (FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017) - Angola’s new U19 head coach Raul Duarte is confident that his team will quickly adapt to his coaching style in build-up to the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017.
Duarte was named as the new U19 boss, taking over from Manuel Silva, who guided Angola to the title at last summer's FIBA U18 African Championship.
The 53-year-old coach has high expectations at the U19 spectacle which runs from 1-9 July. Angola - appearing at their first FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup since 2009 - will face off against the United States, Iran and Italy in Group D.
"This is a challenge for me and for my players. They have played together for quite some time, but I am sure they will instil my philosophy very quickly."Raul Duarte
"Obviously it will be difficult going up against the USA, but we will be ready to compete against Italy and Iran, especially because our goal is to qualify for the next round. We want to finish in the top three of our group," Duarte said. "We are the African champions and we are not going to Cairo to make up numbers. We’ll compete to live up to our continental champions accolade."
A day after being named as the coach, Duarte announced a 17-man preliminary roster for his U19 preparations. Ten of the 17 players were on the African U18 title winning team - with Ismael Monteiro and Cristiano Gomes the only absentees. In addition, six players appeared at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2014 in Dubai.
The leaders of the team will be Silvio de Sousa, Bruno Fernandes, and Childe Dundao from the U18 team last summer. The 1999-born Valdir Manuel did not play in Rwanda last summer but returns to the Angola national team system after playing at the U17 global competition in 2014.
Silva, who was confirmed as the Angolan men's national team coach, said he expects Duarte to do fine in the position.
"I hope to be in Cairo as a spectator but coach Duarte is capable enough of putting the team in a winning position," Silva said. "The team is in good hands."
Duarte has a fair share of international experience, serving as Angola's women's team head coach at the FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament in 2008. He also was head coach for Angola's men's team at the All-African Games 2003 and FIBA AfroBasket 2003 Qualifiers. Duarte was also the assistant coach to former Angola boss Mario Palma at three FIBA AfroBaskets (2001, 2003 and 2005).