LUANDA (FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women) - Four young players and a newly-appointed coach will be on show for Angola when they start their preparations for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women next week in Luanda.
Raul Duarte, a guru of Angolan Basketball, has been unveiled as the national team boss.
Duarte has replaced Anibal Moreira, who helped the team capture the bronze medal last year at the FIBA Africa Championship in Senegal.
The new boss has immediately announced a list of 15 players who will aim to have the same success as the Angola men, the perennial champions of Africa.
Indeed, Duarte’s team will attempt to not only claim one of five places still up for grabs for the Beijing Games.
The Angola women will attempt to dominate Africa.
Newcomers to the national team are Nadir Manuel, Felizarda Jorge, Judith Queta and Angelina Galome.
“These girls are all under 21 and are the future of Angola Basketball,” Duarte said to Basketball World News.
“They bring height and weight to the squad.”
Meanwhile, 40-year-old Maria Barbosa and Irene Guerreiro, 38, are still needed by Duarte’s Angola.
“It will be extremely important having Maria and Irene with those youngsters as they will hand their experience and show to the youngsters how to play under difficult circumstances.”
After weeks of negotiations, Duarte reached agreement with the Angola Basketball Federation (FAB).
“They did not ask me anything especial, but as a professional I have the obligation to guide the team to the highest level as possible,” he said.
Angola will fight neck-a-neck with Argentina and the Czech Republic in Group B with the top two advancing to the quarter-finals.
“We acknowledge that it is a tough pool,” Duarte said. “We will face difficult games due to our opponents’ experience, but we will step onto the court to level all the games, no matter who our opponents are, and we’ll go as far as possible in the competition.”
Despite the Angolans’ ambitions in the June tournament, another issue is at the front of their thoughts.
“This upcoming tournament will give our players international experience, and will allow us go to next year’s (FIBA) Africa Championship with enormous confidence,” he said.
“And we expect to reach the final in the Africa, next year.”
“A good preparation plan, including competitive games, will hopefully be a good indication for us.”
Duarte is hoping that means his team will warm up for Madrid with games in Europe or South America.
The last time Angola’s women reached a final of an African Tournament was in 1987, when they played the title showdown of the Pan African games in Nairobi, Kenya.
Angola squad named by Raul Duarte: Angela Cardoso, Nacissela Mauricio, Nadir Manuel, Felizarda Jorge, Domitila Ventura, Isabel Francisco, Catarina Camufala, Barbara Guimaraes, Irene Guerreiro, Sonia Guadalupe, Angelina Galome, Maria Barbosa “Manu”, Jacqueline Francisco, Judith Queta and Astrida Vicente.