The determined coach Jose Ruiz tutored side were clear favourite from the blast of the referees’ whistle as they wasted no time in shooting down the Senegalese recording a 10-03 lead in the first five minutes of the first quarter.
The champion inspired by WNBA Star, Hamchetou Maiga ended the first half with a 9 points lead, efforts by Senegal to close the game in the last quarter when they reduce play to only three point’s margin were thwarted by Maiga and her colleagues who were not deter by the vociferous Senegalese fans that thronged the stadium in their thousands.
Coach Ruiz was a proud man after the bitter encounter which many Senegal fans weeping uncontrollably as their plan for all-night party were cut short.
With the victory Mali will now fly the continent flag at the 2008 Beijing Olympics while first and second runners-up Senegal and Angola will make an attempt at the Olympics in the FIBA pre-Olympic Games qualifiers in a yet to be named venue.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS