BAMAKO (FIBA AfroBasket 2017) - Cape Verde, Guinea, Mali and Senegal on Thursday will begin a race to secure the only two tickets available for FIBA Africa Zone 2 national teams for the FIBA AfroBasket 2017.
The second leg will take place in the Senegalese capital of Dakar from March 24-26, and the two national teams that finish first and second respectively will then advance to the FIBA AfroBasket 2017 Final Round in Congo-Brazzaville (19-30 August).
Despite being the highest-ranked team (31st in the world, 4th in Africa) in the four-team event, this time round the Senegalese know what's at stake.
So, Which two Africa Zone 2 teams will qualify for FIBA AfroBasket 2017?
"We are not worried about other teams, we will focus on ourselves," said Senegal forward Antoine Mendy, one of the four foreign-based players summoned for the double qualifier.
"Whoever the opponent, we will try to keep our game style. We know we'll be facing good teams."
And the chance of playing in front of home fans couldn't have come at the right time, Mendy says.
"I was very pleased when I was told that a tournament was going to be back and forth. That allows us to play at home. I never played an official match in Senegal in front of the fans. So it's exciting, that's why I wanted to come."
While Cape Verde, Mali and Senegal have participated in the last two editions of FIBA AfroBasket, Guinea last appeared in the competition in 1985.