12/13/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/13/2019 16:01
CAIRO (Egypt) - Angolan giants InterClube have played eight finals in the last nine years while Ferroviario de Maputo have featured in the past three finals winning last year's edition at home in Maputo. The Lusophone duo are eyeing yet another Final.
However, in their way are two Egyptian sides hungry to be a part of history as the first from the Land of Cleopatra to contest for a FIBA Africa Women's Champions Cup title since the inception of this competition in 1985.
It is a tall order for the North African sides who have each lost a game so far to the Lusophone duo and must shake it off to stake a claim if they are to have any chance of making it to the prestigious last two. It is a challenge they have accepted thus far.
Ferroviario de Maputo vs Sporting
Winning a title can be tough but retaining it is even tougher. When Ferroviario de Maputo take on Sporting Alexandria in the first Semi-Finals on Friday, it will be yet another 'final' for them. They have been treating every game like that and have so far gone unbeaten in four games.
They walk around the stadium as defending champions with an air of confidence and yet driven by the humility that exemplifies how far they have come as a team in the last four years. It is a feeling that they want to live with for the rest of their lives.
'As Ferroviario, our strongest arm is defense. We are very aggressive and we do not give up. We play as a team. If somebody is down, we are there to help her. That makes a very big difference on our game. We are not the best shooters or scorers but defense makes the difference in the game,' Ferroviario de Maputo captain Ingvild Mucauro explained .
Sporting will need to be on top of their game right from the onset because beating the defending champions takes nerves of steel especially if that team is Ferroviario de Maputo.
Power forward Hagar Amer is quick to point out the difficulty at stake but that her team will have to be focused right from the start of the game. The physicality of the game will ensure that they match their opponents for every possession. That is the price they have to pay.
'We are playing at home and being the hosts is a very good thing because our families and friends are here to support with us. It is a tough game for sure but we want to continue playing as a team and supporting each other. We want to be in the Final,' Amer said.
InterClube vs Al Ahly
For all the support Al Ahly have received from their fans at the Cairo Indoor Stadium every match day, the idea of progressing to the next level borders on the only way out so much that poster girl Soraya Mohamed recently stated, 'The only thing the fans know is winning.'
Her teammate Kelsey Mitchell, who is averaging an impressive 25.8 points, 3.3 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game will need all the help from her teammates on both ends of the court.
Al Ahly have their work cut out if they want to defeat InterClube as they will have to find ways of stopping the Angolan side's back court trio of Astou Traore, Robyn Parks and Italee Lucas who have combined for 53% of the team's points.
'It is going to be a battle. InterClube have played at this level for a long time and know the seriousness of what it takes to play at a high level but I think this is where we learn. We will give this game everything,' Mitchell told FIBA.basketball.
InterClube on the other hand are seeking their first title since 2016 and to do that, they will need to get past Al Ahly who have shown that they are up to the task. Losing two finals in a row has left the Angolan side with one mission - to win back their title.
Lucas admitted that, 'This year, I feel like it is going to be a little bit different. The past two years, there was a lot of focus on me scoring but this year, I do not have to put up 30 points. I have two amazing players [Traore and Parks] that can score and have a great inside and outside game. Hopefully, we can turn things around this year.'
Meanwhile, winless Energie from Benin will be up against CNSS from Democratic Republic of Congo before Cameroonian champions FAP take on MFM Queens from Nigeria in the Classification games to determine 5-8th positions in the final standings of the tournament.