CAIRO (Afrobasket for Women/FIBA World Championship for Women) - Mohamed Hesham Saleh is to find out in early June if he is to remain at the helm of Egypt's national women's team.
Saleh led the team at the Africa zone 5 qualifier tournament held in Dar es Salaam in January as they finished runners-up behind Kenya.
Now that Egypt has received a wildcard invitation to Afrobasket Women 2013, the country’s basketball federation (EBF) says Saleh - who led Egypt at the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand - is among the candidates to lead the team at the Mozambique tournament in September.
"The head coach should have African basketball knowledge, understand the strengths, weaknesses, the mentality, and systems of Africa women teams," former Egypt international Mohamed Abdel-Motaleb - now the EBF's vice-chairman - told FIBA.com.
Abdel-Motaleb knows well how international is run, especially after his appearance at the 1988 Olympics, and both the Argentina (1990) and Canada (1994) FIBA World Championship.
"We can renew with the coaching staff that played in Tanzania; hire a new coach, or even ask for help from other countries to send us a coach for the championship (Afrobasket)," he explained.
Egypt's women's national team last took part in Afrobasket in 2001 and they accepted the wildcard invitation to participate in this summer's Afrobasket with gratitude and with a target of reaching the Quarter-Finals in mind.
The EBF described the invitation as significant for a country that has dominated Africa youth competitions in the past decade.
"We are building a new generation of women’s team and we have many talents in the pipe line," said Abdel-Motaleb.
"We are very optimistic, but also realistic. Our primary target is to qualify for the second round. If we reach the quarter-finals, then we can talk from there."
The teams that finish in the top two in Mozambique will qualify for the 2014 FIBA World Championship to be staged in Turkey.
Egypt's team is a combination of veteran players - including Aliaa Mahmoud, May Helwa, and Sara Aly - and a group of players that competed at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women in Chile such as Sara Massoud, Hagar Hesham, Hala Elsharaawy, Dina Ragab and Reem Mousa.
Twelve years ago, Egypt finished seventh at the 10-team 2001 Afrobasket held in Tunisia.
They registered wins over Niger (100-54) and Ivory Coast (80-76), but then lost to DR Congo (94-79), Angola (80-72) and Tunisia (73-68).
Eleven of the 12 teams to participate at the Afrobasket are already known although Tunisia and Algeria will battle for the remainder vacancy in the coming weeks.
The tournament's draw takes place on 31 May at Maputo City Hall.
This is the list of teams qualified for this year's Afrobasket: Angola, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal and Zimbabwe.