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HomeNewsWhat the players are saying ahead of the West Division Elite 16?

What the players are saying ahead of the West Division Elite 16?

YAOUNDE (Cameroon) – Expectations and hopes are high as teams put the final touches to their strategies for Tuesday’s tip-off of the West Division of the Elite 16.

Practice sessions have been intense with the players ready to give their best to help their teams get through to the Basketball Africa League season 4. 

FIBA.basketball caught up with some players on what it means for them to play at this stage.

MAX KOUGUERE – (BANGUI SPORTING CLUB)

“I am here for the Elite 16 and I want to make this count. Last year, we missed out but this time around, we want to make it up by correcting our mistakes and qualifying for the BAL. We have worked hard for the past two months to get to this stage and want to take it further by showing what we can do. However, we have tough teams like ABC, SLAC and FUS in our group. We don’t expect an easy battle ahead but we’re motivated to go all the way. Personally, I’m here to represent my club and to put my country right at the top because the BAL has become the mirror for basketball in Africa.” 

SOFIAN SATHI HAMED – (AL AHLY BENGAHZI)

“Being in this Elite 16 stage is an honor for me and my teammates. We hope to qualify from here to the real deal. We’re not here for fun but business and I believe we can qualify because we have a good roster to get the job done. We have seen the last three editions of BAL and understand how competitive it is and we hope to be that surprise team that will be the revelation at the end of it all.”

ARNOLD KOME – (FAP)

“Playing in the Elite 16 is something great for us because this is a combination of ex-NBA players and high-profile players. This is going to be a great tournament for us and personally, it’s a challenge that we win the Elite 16 at home against the best sides. We’re really concentrated knowing that teams like Al Ahly Bengahzi have great players like Solo Diabate who has been to the World Cup for Cote d’Ivoire and Ater Majok who has been in two BAL finals. They are very good and we respect them but we’re going to get on the floor and play our hearts out. We cannot push aside BC Virunga because every team here understands what it means to be at the Elite 16 Stage.”

 JAMES (LJ) WESTBROOK (ABC FIGHTERS)

“It means a lot to me to be in the Elite 16 for the second time in a row to represent my country in Africa. Last year, we played at this stage and won in Abidjan and I am here to help my team do he same again. This means even more to me being with the same group of players for the past two years and competing at such a high level as a thorough-breed professional. Every team here is good and have the right players but it means we must be extra defensive and execute our plays correctly to give us a second victory.” 

SOUFIANE BENMHINE (FUS RABAT)

“First, it is a great honor to be here to play in the Elite 16. As everyone knows, the BAL is an important competition and since we arrived in Yaounde, we have been preparing to make this worthwhile. What this brings for us is that the Elite 16 makes it possible for us to play against international players from Africa and America which toughens us and make us more competitive. It is such a great experience and we just hope that we will qualify.”

 FIBA