loading...Please wait while content is loading.
Pape Moussa Toure (SEN)

TUNIS (Afrobasket for Women/FIBA World Championship for Women) - Five Afrobasket titles over the course of the past two decades have not been enough for Senegal women's national team to become the leaders in Africa as they currently rank second behind Mali.

Senegal were last crowned African champions at the 2009 continental championship held in Madagascar before they finished runners-up two years ago in Mali.

Now, the country's basketball federation has decided it is time to remain firmly at the top of Africa, and as such have appointed Pape Moussa Toure as the new national team coach.

Toure, the former technical director of the national team and a physical education teacher, takes over from Moustapha Gaye. He is currently in charge of Tunisian men's club State Nabeulien. He had previously coached Tunisia women's and youth national teams.

This year's Afrobasket runs from 20-29 September in Mozambique's capital city of Maputo.

Toure and his national team have pinpointed the tournament as a turning-point for their aspirations.

"We will play to get the title back, to build a competitive base for the future team and to qualify for the FIBA World Championship," he told

The preparations for the national team are due to get underway in June in Senegal's capital Dakar.

In 2011, Senegal were denied back-to-back African title following a 62-54 defeat to Angola in the Final.

Although they finished runners-up and qualified for the 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women, Senegal did not take their place in Ankara, Turkey last summer.

However, Toure says the team's morale is high.

"Players I have been talking to are highly-motivated to join the team," he said.

"I am just waiting for the end of the European domestic leagues and US colleges academic terms. Then I'll start informing our players about the national team's preparations."

In past few years, the number of Senegalese-born players representing other national teams has risen.

Toure says this should be reviewed by basketball authorities because some of those players regularly stop representing their adopted countries at senior level and cannot play for their native country.

"Those players should be a great addition to our team," Toure explained.

"Some of those players, come and watch African national teams play, but they can’t be part of it because of the regulation.

Whatever Senegal's ambitions in Maputo, they will need to finish in the top two places of the 12-team Afrobasket in order to qualify for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women to be held in Turkey.

However, Senegal will need to overcome potential title contenders Mozambique, Mali, Angola and Nigeria.

"They are really good," Toure said of those teams.

"Mozambique like to run the floor. They can really shoot the ball and have playing together for a long time. And they play at home.

"Mali and Nigeria are among the strongest teams in Africa. They have big players and experience.

"Angola like to push the ball, drive to the basket and shoot. They are also very well organised, athletic and learned a lot at the London Olympic Games from the best teams in the world.

"For us there is no choice, we must beat our opponents if we want to achieve our goals.

"We have players with experiences and they're really motivated.

"Some countries like Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Rwanda can play too.

"I hope we'll have a nice and fair 2013 Afrobasket," Toure said.

For now, Toure is expecting to lead his State Nabeulien team at the final of Tunisian Cup on 11 May against national champions Etoile Sportive du Sahel.