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Basketball - 13. March 2012.

MOZ - Salé at helm of women's NT again-MAPUTO (Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women)

MOZ - Salé at helm of women's NT again

MAPUTO (Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women) - Mozambique have put former coach Nasir Salé back in charge of the women's national team.

The Mozambican will lead the side at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women (OQT) in the Turkish capital of Ankara in late June.

The Mozambique Basketball Federation opted for Salé, who replaces his countryman Carlos Niquice.

Niquice led the team at last year's Afrobasket in Mali to a fifth-place finish.

Salé coaches Mozambique champions Liga Desportiva Muçulmana.

He led the national team at Afrobaskets 2007 and 2009.

With five places for grabs for the 2012 Olympics, Mozambique will play against Korea and Croatia in Group C of the OQT.

Mozambique are launching their preparations for the OQT on Monday, and it coincides with the beginning of the domestic league's pre-season.

The regular season is due to start in late March.

Initially, Salé will work with 21 home-based players although he expects to have others playing abroad in his pre-OQT squad.

Salé has called up players from his Liga Muçulmana, along with Politécnica, Ferroviário de Maputo and Clube Desportivo da Maxaquene.

Mozambique have replaced Senegal at the OQT following the Afrobasket silver-medalists' withdrawal.

"This is a great opportunity to compete at high-level," Salé said to FIBA.com.

"We know it will be difficult for us, but our determination to improve made us accept this challenge.

"We will play the tournament at our best and looking at the future of the national team."

Mozambique has never played at an Olympics, nor in a FIBA intercontinental tournament before.

Meanwhile, Salé says he is well aware of how good Korea and Croatia are.

"I follow the European basketball, so I know the Croatian playing style," he said.

"I have done research on the Korean team, too."

With players such as Deolinda Ngulela, the Afrobasket's leading rebounder Leia Dongue and Ana Azinheira, Salé thinks being competitive in Ankara is possible for Mozambique although he admits the team needs to work with more experienced players without disregarding opportunities for the young.

"This tournament will surely have impact on our team when we play at Afrobasket 2013," he said.

Inevitably, Salé says that "playing at an Olympic Games is everything a sportsperson dreams of."

"We are not different," he said.

"If we play well and hard, perhaps we can make it.

"Who knows."

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