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SEN/ANG – Senegal and Angola battle for AfroBasket Final place and Turkey 2014 spot
MAPUTO (AfroBasket Women/FIBA World Championship for Women) - It's re-match time in the Semi-Finals of AfroBasket Women 2013.
Two years ago, Angola upset Senegal in the Final of the tournament held in Bamako, Mali.
Now, only the winner of Saturday's encounter between these two teams is guaranteed to advance to the FIBA World Championship for Women.
Angola reached the Semi-Finals unbeaten in six games while Senegal won five games, but lost to hosts Mozambique in Group A.
For Senegalese Astou Traore, the team's leading scorer in the tournament in Mozambique's capital of Maputo, this is crucial moment in her national team career.
Traore has collected enough silver medals - three in total, 2005, 2007 and 2011 - with Senegal at AfroBasket Women over the years.
When she received a call to compete at AfroBasket Women 2013, she thought it was the opportunity to win her first African gold medal.
Senegal last won an AfroBasket Women title in 2009. That was the year Traore missed out the tournament.
"All I care for now is to win the African Championship trophy. Then we can talk about the world championship," she told FIBA.com minutes after leading Senegal in scoring with 22 points as they beat Mali 67-44 in Friday's Quarter-Finals.
Senegal were without Diodio Diouf through injury in Wednesday's defeat to Mozambique, but head coach Pape Moussa Toure is hopeful to have her back for Saturday's second Semi-Final.
For the Angolans, the only goal on their minds is to keep their unbeaten run in the tournament and play in the FIBA World Championship for Women in Turkey next year.
"To be honest, the Semi-Final will be more of a Final. We are going to need to be focused and execute what our coach asks us to quickly and effectively," said Clarisse Mpaka.
"At this moment in time, our main focus is to play in the Final of this tournament."
Mpaka is making her debut for Angola in Maputo, although she had already practised with the team four years ago.
She spent all her life in France after moving there with her family when she was nine months old.
Representing her country was a big ambition of hers.
"I feel good within the team. I already knew most of the girls and the coaching staff. I just want to contribute.
"Psychologically our team is ready to take any opponent," she explained.
For full and in-depth coverage of AfroBasket Women 2013, go to the official website http://maputo2013.fibaafrica.com.