FIBA Africa President, Hamane Niang has applauded Africa’s representatives at the just concluded FIBA Women’s World Cup in Spain, Nigeria and Senegal for a good outing.
The two teams broke records; Senegal became the first team to win a game at the group stage of the FIBA Women’s World Cup beating Latvia while Nigeria went on a three-game winning streak beating Turkey, Argentina and Greece to become the first African team to reach the quarter-finals of the FIBA Women’s World Cup.
Niang said Nigeria and Senegal should be commended for their performances against European teams.
“It was one of the objectives set out in Africa for our national teams to compete against the Europeans because, other than the USA and Australia, it is these sides from Europe that have been the big threats at past Women’s World Cups,” Niang said to FIBA.basketball
“For a very long time, African teams came to this competition to limit the damage as used to be said. What has been positive in this competition is that the African teams have played without any anxiety and on an equal footing with their opponents,” Niang reflected.
Niang, who is also FIBA Vice-President, explained why the performances by the two teams is a game-changing moment.
“For Nigeria and Senegal to prove themselves to be evenly matched with these teams is a source of great happiness for us. We’re convinced that what has happened in Tenerife is historic,” he said.
“To have one African team in the eight best women’s sides and two of them among the top 12 teams in the world is a performance we have to highlight so that future African teams coming to the competition will not do so just for the sake of taking part, but rather to rightfully represent the very best of the African game and continent.
“It’s historic for women’s basketball and the arrival of Africa in what is otherwise a closed circle and selected group has to be saluted. It is worth recognizing the steps forward that Africa has taken. It means that basketball, from a young age, is starting to bear fruit.”
Nigeria finished eighth while Senegal returned home with an encouraging 12th place out of 16.