MANILA, Philippines – Not many people fancy a Philippines-Senegal finals for the last slot to Rio. But there is a slim chance both will face off in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila next month.
Senegal is a 5-time FIBA Africa champion (1968, 1972, 1978, 1980, and 1997), a 6-time silver and a 4-time bronze medalist so there is quality in this team.
While most Filipino fans had a first look at this African side in the 81-79 overtime squeaker by the Filipinos during the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Seville, Spain, this is supposedly a better side that will see action in Manila.
Gone from the Lions, as the team is nicknamed, is scorer Mouhammad Faye. It is unsure if his suspension by his Italian club team Pallacanestro Varese for failing a doping test has anything to do with his exclusion from the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
There are only 8 holdovers from the team that finished fourth in AfroBasket 2015, a testament to how serious Senegal is about reclaiming lost glory.
The Lions have a provisional 23-man pool that is undergoing a month-long training camp in the capital city of Dakar right now.
Included are Louis Adams who ran the point for South Carolina State in the US NCAA, Gueye Serigne Bamba, Mousa Camara, Badou Diagne, Moussa Diagne, Gorgui Dieng who plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Ibrahima Faye, Ibrahima Mbengue, Cheikh Mbodj, Antoine Mendy, Pape Diatta, El Hadj N’Diaye, Thierno Niang, Maurice N’Dour, Abdoulaye N’Doye, Malaye N’Doye, Youssoupha N’Doye, Hamady N’Diaye, Mamadou N’Diaye, Ibrahima Niang, Lamine Samb, Sitapha Savane, and Ibrahima Thomas.
Curiously, Saer Sene who plays for the Austin Spurs in the NBA D-League is not in the pool. X’Ane D’Almeida, their leading assist man is out with an injury.
Senegal head coach Cheikh Sarr is expected to bank on Adams, Diatta, Dieng, Mendy, Hamady N’Diaye, and N’Dour to lead their campaign. – Rappler.com
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