TUNIS (FIBA AfroBasket 2017) - Tunisia head coach Mario Palma has remained upbeat after finding out that Salah Mejri will not play at next month's FIBA AfroBasket 2017.
The seven-footer, who is entering his third NBA season with the Dallas Mavericks, was expected to join his national team's training camp earlier this month. Instead, the country's Basketball Federation confirmed he will miss FIBA Africa's flagship event for the first time since 2009.
"It would have been great to have Salah on board, but we have to move on," he explained. "He has been great for our team in recent years, but as a coach, I totally understand his unavailability. We continue working hard here in Tunisia in order to play a great championship. I am really pleased with the way my players competed during our training camp in Europe. We had a great game against France, but we lost in the final minutes. I hope they remain mentally strong for the African Championship."
In Europe, Tunisia faced Belgium, Portugal, Romania, France and Spain, to return home with a 3-4 record.
Before FIBA AfroBasket gets underway, the Tunisians will host the Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and the Central African Republic as part of their preparations.
Tunisia and Senegal will co-host this year's event from September 8-16.