Women’s AfroBasket 2021 – Team profile: Cote d’Ivoire
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ABIDJAN (Cote d' Ivoire) – A mid-table team, Cote d'Ivoire have become regular participants at FIBA Women's AfroBasket although they are yet to win a major trophy on the continent.
The Ivorians will be making their 14th appearance in the history of the tournament, and will be heading to Yaounde looking to build on their basketball programme.
Since the West African nation made their first Women's AfroBasket appearance in 1977 with a Fourth-Place finish in Senegal and repeated their positioning in Madagascar in 2009, Cote d'Ivoire have not made a better impact despite their array of former star players like Denaimou Ngarsanet and Patricia Lorungnon to mention but a few.
Heading to cameroon, newly-appointed head coach Igor Kovacevic will have his hands full in ensuring that the team makes an impact.
If records are anything to go by, Kovacevic then understands the task ahead of him.
With his team's camping already underway, Kovacevic and his team will be aiming to take women's basketball in Cote d' Ivoire to the next level.
Key facts about Cote d'Ivoire:
FIBA World Ranking Women: No. 55 (World); No. 8 (Africa)
Last participation in the Women's AfroBasket: 2019 (2 wins, 4 defeats; 8th-Place)
Best result at Women's AfroBasket: Fourth-Place finish in the 1977 and 2009 editions of Women's AfroBasket.
How they qualified for the Women's AfroBasket 2021: Cote d'Ivoire qualified for the Women FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Final Round with an automatic ticket from the FIBA Africa Zone Three when it became evident that other national teams from the in the Zone – ghana, Togo, Benin, Niger and Burkina Faso – had no registered their teams to participate in the regional qualifier.
Key players: Safietou Kolga (CSA), Kani Kouyate (BCSP Rezé), salimata berte (ABC) and Mariam Gnanou (Oklahoma State Cowgirls).
Head coach: Serbian Igor Kovacevic took the helm, replacing former Cote d'Ivoire international player Christelle N'Garsanet who was expected to become the first Africa-born former female player named head coach of a national team on the continent.
Kovacevic is known in the Ivorian basketball circles, having coached Abidjan-based side ABC.
Kovacevic has toured Africa coaching, and leading basketball clinics. One of his coaching assignments took him to Rwanda where he worked with local heavyweights REG Basketball.
Lookout: Cote d'Ivoire have been drawn in Group D alongside Mali and Tunisia. The Ivorians are far from being a title contenders. Reaching the Semi-Final remain remains their main target. Whether this is achievable or not, on time will tell.