The highly anticipated FIBA Women’s AfroBasket 2019 match between Nigeria and Senegal is here to decide the continental title this Sunday in Dakar.
The match holds at 6pm Nigerian time.
While reigning champions Nigeria easy past Mali 79-58 in Friday’s first semifinal, hosts Senegal needed to work extra hard to overcome fearless and determined Mozambique team 60-57 to return to the championship title game for the third time in a row.
In all fairness, both Nigeria and Senegal emerged as the best teams from the 12-tournament, and it came as no surprise that each team reached the final of the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket 2019 undefeated in four games each.
Nigeria defeated Tunisia (75-26), Cameroon (106-39), DR Congo (79-46) and Mali (79-58) by an average of 42.5 points while Senegal beat Cote d’Ivoire (77-36), Egypt (85-47), Angola (88-54) and Mozambique 60-57 by an average of 29 points.
After losing to Nigeria two years ago – not once but twice in Bamako – twelve-time African champions Senegal will try to become the first team to win the tournament at home since their opponents claimed the 2005 continental in Abuja.
On the other hand, Nigeria aim to become the first team to win back-to-back Women’s AfroBasket titles since Angola in 2013.
After trailing by as many as 19 points in first half, Senegal knew nothing mattered most than fighting until the end, and beating Mozambique in the semifinal, Senegal demonstrated tremendous resilience and tenacity, two qualities that they will desperately need to try to prevent Nigeria from lifting the continental trophy in front of Senegalese, who continue to play a major roles in their heroes’ unbeaten run so far.
Just like previous Senegal matches proved over the past few days, there will be a deafening atmosphere at Dakar Arena, after all Senegal are trying to move on from the Women’s AfroBasket 2007’s disappointment when they lost in Dakar to eventual champions Mali.
And if numbers and history are anything to go by, then Senegal have a lot to worry about Nigeria – a team that averages tournament-highs 84.5 points and 52 rebounds per game.
With a talented roster led by Evelyn Akhator, Adaora Elonu and Ezinne Kalu, Nigeria’s ambition of closing the 2019 African Championship will be tested not only against Astou Traore and Co, but principally by the tireless home crowd.