Temps de lecture : 2 mn 🕗
CAIRO (Egypt) – Egypt women’s basketball is undeniably on the rise, but can they become a FIBA Women’s AfroBasket contender?
At regional level, Egypt dominated FIBA Africa Zone 5 for most of the past few years, until Kenya stepped up and relegated Egypt to No.2 in the latest edition of the Women’s AfroBasket regional qualifier in Kigali in July.
Egypt have never been at the top of the podium at the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket.
Egypt caused the biggest upset at Women’s AfroBasket 2015 in Yaounde after beating then-defending champions Angola in the Group Phase
This year, Soraya Mohamed and her teammates head to Yaounde with the firm and sole intention to shatter the hierarchy and do much better than the 7th place they accomplished in 2019.
The question, however, would be: Do Egypt have what it takes to make it to the top of the African continent?
Here are some key elements about Egypt:
FIBA Ranking Women: 48th (World); 6th (Africa)
Last participation in the Women’s AfroBasket: 2019 (7th place, 2 wins, 4 defeats)
Best result at Women’s AfroBasket: 2nd (1974)
How they qualified for the 2021 AfroBasket: Egypt finished second in FIBA Africa Zone 5 Qualifier behind Kenya.
World: Egypt have never participated at world competition.
History/Qualification: For a country that once played the first role on the African basketball scene – Egypt finished third in 1974 and second in 1977 – it seems that they are condemned to be outside of the podium.
When, in the early 1990s, they entered the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket, they left Tunisia with a Seventh-Place finish.
After more than a decade of absence, they returned to the tournament to finish in the same spot. Then, Egypt once again missed out the Final Phase of the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket from 2001 to 2011. They finished Eighth in 2013 in Maputo, Mozambique.
These long absences seem to have done more wrong to women’s basketball in Egypt than good.
But with the recent rise of talented players such as the likes of Soraya Mohamed, Reem Moussa, Menatalla Awad, and Raneem Elgedawy, Egypt women’s basketball has hope.
Mohamed, who plays for local Al Alhy, is one who can do everything and could be the key to Egyptian success.
Key players: Soraya Mohamed, Reem Moussa, Menatalla Awad, and Raneem Elgedawy have become vital for the revitalisation of women’s basketball in the country.
Menatalla has featured at the last four editions of the tournament.
Rising star (s): Raneem Elgedawy made her debut with Egypt’s senior team as an 18-year-old at Women’s AfroBasket 2015 in Yaounde.
Since then, the 1.91m (6f 2in) power forward embarked on a College Basketball career. The Alexandria-native last played for the Western Kentucky University. She was named to the Zone 5 Qualifiers All-Tournament Team in July.
Another rising star with the Western Kentucky University programme is Meral Abdelgawad, who has built her name for herself.
At the FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup 2017, Abdelgawad finished as the tournament second-leading scorer with 17.4 points per game – one point short of MVP Maria Vadeeva.
Head coach: After leading Egypt at the 2019 edition of Women’s AfroBasket in Dakar and coaching the team during the regional qualifiers in Kigali, Ehab Elalfy is back for his second straight Women’s AfroBasket.
Elalfy replaced Amr Hamed Ashour, who coached Egypt at Women’s AfroBasket 2017.
Outlook: Drawn in group C with title contenders Senegal and outsiders Guinea, Egypt could probably get through to the knock-out phase.
But, as they say, basketball games are won on the court and a team that demonstrates more desire and tenacity than their opponents, usually, comes up on top.
Nothing can be more certain. And Guinea will come with the idea of being more than just numbers.