LUSAKA (FIBA AfroBasket 2017) - Five years after leaving his native Zambia to pursue an academic and basketball career in the United States, Paston Siame wants to help the Southern African country qualify for this year's FIBA AfroBasket in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.
According to the daily newspaper Times of Zambia, the 2.11m center is looking forward to receiving a call-up from the Zambia Basketball Association (ZBAF) in order to offer his ambitious services.
Although it's not clear whether Zambia will enter the FIBA Africa Zone 6 qualifiers against regional rivals Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Angola, the 23-year-old feels they can succeed if the team is adequately prepared.
"I would be more than glad to help my nation qualify for the Afro basketball tournament and, if possible, even win the tournament for Zambia," Siame is quoted as saying. "Looking at the pace at which the sport is growing, the chances of us qualifying and making an impact are very high."
Siame, who first came to the attention of scouts when he made a strong impression at the Basketball without Borders (BWB) 2011 in South Africa, is currently playing college basketball at Arizona Christian University, where his defensive abilities keep raising expectations.
Regarded as one of the top prospects in Zambian basketball, Siame went on to represent Africa at the Nike Hoops Summit 2012 before joining the Loyola Marymount University.
Zambia last participated in FIBA Africa's flagship event in 1989, but Siame's feelings seem to have echoed in Lusaka.
"We need to beef up our squad and if guys that are based abroad come through, then it will be to our advantage," ZBAF General Secretary Mwembe Kaona told the Times.
With foreign-based players that include Chansa Mufwaume, Given Kalipinde and Arthur Zulu, the Zambians could make an impact in the region.