SHEFFIELD (Julio Chitunda’s African Message) - In a surprising move, Cape Verde’s new Basketball Federation (FCBB) board has pulled out this year’s FIBA AfroBasket qualifiers.
And by the sound of their reactions, some Cape Verde internationals seem somehow disappointed with the decision.
However, it’s not understandable if the federation’s new board of directors - led by Andre Delgado - simply took the decision in order to start everything from scratch, as it seems to be the case.
And fans can't wait to hear from Delgado's team as this Facebook post in local criollo suggests.
Although Cape Verde have fallen short of a place in the Quarter-Finals in Tunisia two years ago following a dominant Group D campaign in which they outplayed Zimbabwe, Algeria and Cote d’Ivoire, Ivan Almeida, Dimitry Coronel, Jeff Xavier and the rest the team deserve a second chance to compete for a podium finish.
They have proven their pedigree to play against Africa’s best and being cut short of a chance of reaching Brazzaville represents a step backwards for a team that has become one of the most exciting to watch in African basketball.
Going up against Senegal, Mali or Guinea in the qualifiers wouldn’t be toughest of their challenges, especially when some of the key players have expressed willingness represent the country this summer.
The FIBA AfroBasket 2015 might have represented the end of the road for Rodrigo Mascarenhas - a key member in the Islanders’ FIBA AfroBasket bronze medal accomplished in 2007 -, but Almeida (27), Coronel (24), Xavier (31) and Atlanta Hawks’ Walter Tavares (24), who are in the prime of their playing careers, can’t be denied a chance of keeping Cape Verde among Africa’s top 16 national teams. And that's the reason, missing out the qualifiers is bad move.
Even though Kitana Cabral, who served as the President of FCBB for the past years, admits that participating in a competition of the FIBA AfroBasket’s dimension has caused his administration some financial constraints, he told me that “Regardless of any new plans and projects, Cape Verde should compete for a place in FIBA AfroBasket 2017 because of the historic that we built over the years.”
Meanwhile, Delgado told me that his team is looking into the situation and will invite the local media this week to clarify their position.
"The decision is made, we respect FIBA as an institution, and the draw has already been announced. We are not thinking to ask FIBA to reconsider our decision," Delgado said.