The date of the first window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 African Qualifiers is fast approaching with eight countries strategizing ahead of the first jump-ball in the Angolan city of Benguela. Cape Verde seem poised to continue with their brilliant run from the last edition of FIBA AfroBasket held in August in Rwanda, as declared by one of the island’s reliable shooting guard, Joel Freitas Almeida in a recent chat with FIBA.basketball.
The 36-year-old averaged 14 points, 5.3 rebounds, and two assists per game to help his country reach the Semi-Final of FIBA Africa's premier tournament after fourteen years. Cape Verde caused a stir at the Kigali showpiece which saw them defeat Africa's most decorated side Angola and also upstage fellow Group A side Uganda to reach the last four at this year's African Championship.
"Yes Nigeria is a power house when it comes to Africa and world basketball and so we are not deceived with the make-shift team they presented during the AfroBasket in Kigali, Rwanda, but I am confident that we shall achieve our set objective and that is to be among the three teams from the group going into the Second Round. We are psychologically, emotionally and physically prepared for the task ahead and we're poised to achieve that."
Said Almeida, who plays for Kutaisi in Georgia’s SuperLeague"
Almeida considers himself lucky to suit up alongside his younger brother, Ivan Almeida, in the colours of their national team. Voted twice as the best player in the Georgian SuperLeague this season, the swingman is happy that most of the players who represented Cape Verde at the AfroBasket 2021 will be available for Coach Emmanuel Trovoada as they perfect their journey to Benguela.Cape Verde, who ranked 100th in the latest FIBA World Ranking, will return to Benguela, a city with a significant Cape Verdean community.
"If we (Cape Verde) finish in the top three of the group we will qualify for the second round, where anything is possible to secure one of five tickets available for African teams for the World Cup in Indonesia, Japan and Philippines. That would be huge for our country. We are here to show that we have arrived as one of the best teams in Africa. Now we just need to focus and add more support and infrastructure on the national side - and the sky's the limit for us."