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Julio-Chitunda-Column
29/04/2013
Coaching positions at this year's Afrobasket

SHEFFIELD (Júlio Chitunda's African Message) - Until a couple of weeks ago, former Cameroon head coach Lazare Adingono had not heard from his country's national basketball federation (FECABASKET) about a possible coaching position. Newly re-elected FECABASKET chairman Samuel Nduku, however, told me they had not made a decision on the new coach.

Michel Perrin - who led the team at Africa zone 4 qualifier - is the frontrunner to the lead the "Indomitable Lions" to Abidjan, the site of this year's Afrobasket.

Adingono has become a household name in Africa since he became an assistant coach at Canisius College in the United States before leading Cameroon to a silver-medal at the 2007 Afrobasket in Angola, followed by a seventh-place finish at the 2011 Afrobasket in Madagascar.

Adingono says he is focused on coaching his Angolan club Petro de Luanda - a team he helped win the Angolan Cup three weeks ago - although he is open to coach at this year's Afrobasket.

"It is always a privilege to coach in Africa. If I am contacted by any nation to coach them, I'll be very honoured," he told me.

But, which national team can possibly consider Adingono for a coaching position when most taking part at the 2013 Afrobasket have already agreed or on the path to re-appoint their head coaches?

I have checked out how coaching positions of the 16 Afrobasket teams have currently been filled. Here is how things stand.

The Ivory Coast has recently re-appointed Natxo Lezkano. The Spaniard led the "Elephants" to a fourth-place finish at Afrobasket 2011 and is currently working in Spain's second division.

Afrobasket defending champions Tunisia are coached by Tunisian Adel Tlatli, currently the longest tenured national team head coach in African basketball.

He first took over in 2001 but remained in the charge for only five months. Tunisia's Basketball Federation (TBFF) re-appointed him in April 2004 and he has been in charge ever since.

Former Angola international player José Carlos Guimaraes took over the Angolan job prior to the 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament held in Caracas. He had served as assistant coach to Alberto Carvalho at the 2006 FIBA World Championship.

After serving as an assistant to Frenchman Alain Weisz for Senegal's national side at Afrobasket 2011, Cheikh Sarr has taken over the reigns for his country.

Sources tell me Sarr has been appointed up to the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.

Frenchman Perrin led Cameroon during the qualifying tournament held in Bangui, Central African Republic where they finished second. Perrin is known to Cameroonians as he previously served as head coach of the country's women’s national team during the 2011 Afrobasket qualifier.

Former Egypt international Amr Abould Kheir has recently agreed a three-year deal with his country's basketball federation. He is the son of the late Fouad Aboul kheir, the last coach to have won an African title.

Faid Bilal is coaching his country Algeria for the second time following a silver medal at the 2001 edition of the Afrobasket, when the tournament was held in neighbour Morocco. He also led the team at the 2002 FIBA World Championship in Indianapolis, USA.

Seoul Olympian Frederic Goporo led his native Central African Republic (CAF) at the Africa zone 4 qualifier and is expected to remain in the post. CAF were last coached by Spanish Paco Garcia.

Nigerian Alex Nwora has been Cape Verde's head coach since 2009. He recently led the Islanders to a second-place finish at the zone 2 qualifier behind Senegal.

Mozambique's Basketball Federation recently promised to keep local coach Milagre Macome after he had taken over from Spaniard Inaki Martin Garcia.

Rwanda, meanwhile, are coached by Moise Mutokambali, who led the team at the Africa zone 5 qualifier tournament held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Frenchman Jose Ruiz was recently confirmed to once again lead Mali's men's team in Abidjan after being in charge of the national side at the 2011 Afrobasket and last summer's Africa zone 2 qualifier held in Cape Verde’s capital city of Praia.

Ruiz also has experience with the country's women's team, qualifying them to the 2008 Beijing Games, after a gold medal at the 2007 Afrobasket.

Moroccan Hassan Hachad is in his third year with his country's national team.

Burkina Faso appointed Frenchman Jean-Paul Rabatet, who has coached Morocco and Central African Republic on a number of occasions.

Can Adingono coach the Republic of Cameroon, Congo or Nigeria? These are the only three national teams to not have publicly announced their head coaches.

Júlio Chitunda

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