12/14/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/14/2019 13:38
CAIRO (Egypt) - Angolan champions Inter Clube will be battling to win a record sixth continental trophy when they take on Ferroviario de Maputo in the much-anticipated FIBA Africa Women's Champions Cup Final 2019 on Saturday.
When all is said and done, these are the best two teams in the competition by virtue of making it this far even though it took grit, precision and loads of experience to achieve.
As the Cairo Indoor Stadium prepares for the last day of action that will crown the best of the best, the creme de la creme of the annual competition, a lot remains at stake. It is not just a battle for the prestigious trophy. It is in many ways a battle for pride and dignity.
Will Ferroviario de Maputo, who has five Mozambique national team players, conclude what has been an astonishing year for women's basketball at home with a victory in the club competitions or will InterClube who also have five players on the Angolan national team that has had a dismal performance in 2019 find redemption at club level?
Sarah Ogoke vs Italee Lucas
Ogoke will be looking to stop Lucas
Sarah Ogoke has provided a spark in the Ferroviario scoring engine averaging 11.6 points per game scoring more than 15 points in three games even though she struggled in the Semi-Final against Sporting netting just five points.
Her defense, however, will come in handy when marking InterClube point guard Italee Lucas and with both having their grassroots development based in the USA, the style will come into play on the night. This matchup will make for good viewing.
Lucas, on the other hand, has averaged 13.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.3 assists and will be at the center of InterClube's offense as it has always been in the last five years winning three African titles with the Police side.
Ingvild Mucauro vs Astou Traore
Ferroviario captain Ingvild Mucauro is relentless. She plays with conviction and her style of leadership is that she leads by example. She celebrates everything from making a basket, to picking a rebound, to being the first to thank the handful of Mozambican fans in the stands and is always the first to get on the court. Her focus is incredible.
This game will not be short of quality on the court and another promising battle that should ignite a fierce rivalry will be between the shooting guards who are both scorers and love to win. Their love for basketball and commitment is unrivaled.
Astou Traore comes with tonnes of experience from playing for Senegal at two FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup, Rio 2016 Olympics and the EuroCup Women. Her search for success at club level in Africa could be defined by how well she can stop Mucauro while looking to beat her defense on the other end of the court.
Traore has brought magic to Inter Clube's back court
Pauline Akonga vs Nadir Manuel
The widely traveled Akonga will be up against her former teammates but insists that they will remain friends despite the result of the game eventually. Akonga has only played two games so far at this tournament - the Quarter-Final and Semi-Final averaging 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds.
Her experience on both ends of the court coupled with her defense will come in handy for Carlos Aik's side that will be relying on their paint game to win the Final.
Nadir Manuel finds herself between a rock and a hard place. While she has to deal with Akonga, she will also need to keep an eye on Deolinda Gimo and Odelia Mafanela. This trio contributed 40 of Ferroviario's 86 points in their Semi-Final win over Sporting.
Manuel will be crucial for Inter Clube in the paint
What They Said
'It is an honor for us to be playing yet another Final. It says a lot about our program and the heart within the team. We are looking forward to today's game. We will come out and play hard. It is going to be a battle. It is going to be a fight. It is going to be moment by moment,' Lucas explained.
'We shall play as a team on offense and defense. As Ferroviario, we are very aggressive on defense. We do not give up. When someone is down, we uplift them. I think that makes a very big difference. Having Mafanela, Gimo and Akonga helps us with the rebounds and also on defense a lot. We are looking forward to a good game,' Mucauro said.
The Final is expected to produce end-to-end action and the Lusophone battle will bring out the best from both teams - a typical battle of pride and bragging rights.