Mali’s coach plans to upstage Nigeria


By Olalekan Okusan with agency report

 

Mali head coach Remi Giutta has admitted that Nigeria’s D’Tigers would remain a hard nut to crack as he prepares his young side for the First Round of the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers later this month.

Giutta  who took the reins of the team back in 2018 ahead of the country’s FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers yet remains optimistic, adding he would do everything possible to punch a ticket to the Final Round from a seemingly  Group D  section.

“It’s a difficult group with the best African team Nigeria, Algeria and host Rwanda. It’s often not easy playing the host on their turf but as a team we will try to do our best in the November window to make it lighter for us by the February 2021 window,” he told FIBA.com.

 

Giutta noted further that this is the time for him to build on the gains of the U-19 team and believe that their inclusion would go a long way to putting Mali as contenders.

Almost two years in charge of the team, Giutta feels that the time is right to make adjustments and  try new additions to the team, and he’s not shy to admit that some young players may have their chance sooner rather than later.

“Of course, our main objective is to qualify for the AfroBasket 2021 but it’s also our objective to do so with the progressive introduction of young Malian talents from those that made us proud at the [FIBA] U19 Basketball World Cup,” the 43-year-old Frenchman said.

The Malians’ attempt to reach the Final Round of Africa’s premier basketball competition for their  eighth consecutive time will see them face Nigeria, Rwanda and Algeria next month in Kigali, Rwanda.

 


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