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CPV - Two generations to play for Cape Verde in AfroBasket for Women
PRAIA (AfroBasket for Women/FIBA World Championship for Women) - Crispina Correia and Lorreta Rocha represent two different generations of Cape Verde internationals that will join forces at this summer's AfroBasket for Women in Maputo, Mozambique.
Correia is a two-time AfroBasket player while Rocha leads a group of young Cape-verdean players expected to debut for the country's national team next month (20-29 September).
The blending of generations is what head coach Antonio Moreira calls the option to achieve their best result in AfroBasket competition.
Rocha is a standout at USA's Southern New Hampshire University, while Correia returns to the national team following a four-year retirement.
Correia led all players in scoring with 18.1 points per game at the 2007 AfroBasket for Women, but in December 2008 while playing for Angolan club Primeiro D'Agosto, she suffered a knee injury during an African Clubs Cup for Women game in Nairobi, Kenya that interrupted her basketball career.
Now, she is back.
"I am proud to be able to represent my country again," Correia told FIBA.com.
"This means they still believe in me, and I will play my best to help this young team.
"I acknowledge my responsibilities in the team, and this makes this invitation quite challenging.
"At first when I received the invitation I was a little a bit apprehensive, but I am feeling well and in great shape," the 37-year-old explained.
Angola-based Correia has been working on her fitness since March this year and admits she has "never felt as fit in recent years."
The 2013 AfroBasket for Women is a qualifying tournament for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women. The top two African teams will represent the continent in the world class event in Turkey next year.
Cape Verde has been drawn in Group B along Mali, Kenya, Cameroon, Angola and Nigeria.
These, Correia said "are tough teams to play against, and I have already faced most of them and I am sure it will not be easy.
"I know well the Angolan team (2011 champions), and I am sure they will be playing to win it again," she explains.
Head coach Antonio Moreira is currently working with a group of 10 players, including local players, in the Cape Verde capital city of Praia, although a few more are expected to arrive in the island over the weekend.
Some players come from as far as Angola, France, the USA and Portugal.
"This is a very young and talented team, and this is why we needed Cris's (Crispina Correia) leadership. This team averages 21 years of age," Moreira explained to FIBA.com.
"Our objective is to finish in the top-4 of our Group and qualify for the next round.
"We need to improve our ranking and doing better than six years ago," Moreira pointed out.
Among the foreign-based players, Moreira is currently working with Rocha, Alexia Barros (Community College of Rhode Island), Teresa Pina (University of Massachusetts) as well as Vandel Andrade and Jade Leitao.
Cape Verde last played in AfroBasket competition in 2007. In that 12-team tournament, the islanders finished ninth.