MAPUTO (AfroBasket Women/FIBA World Championship for Women) - Allexia Barros and Teresa Jesus Pina may have both been ineligible to help Cape Verde compete at AfroBasket Women 2013 in Maputo, Mozambique, but they pledge to come back better and stronger.
Barros and Pina were born in the USA to families of Cape Verdean ancestry.
But when the phone rang early this year to represent the country, neither player nor the national team coaching staff thought that decision required some legal specifications for naturalized players.
Both players spent over a month preparing with the team in the island's capital city of Praia and they were selected among the final 12 players by head coach Antonio Moreira.
But a few hours before the tournament, Barros and Pina received the bad news by coach Moreira who could use only 10 players in the 10-day tournament.
Cape Verde had a tough experience in Group B with defeats to Mali, Angola, Cameroon and Nigeria and missed out on qualifying for the Quarter-Finals.
Barros and Pina spoke to FIBA.com and shared their experience in Maputo.
Boston-born Pina played college basketball at Bunker Hill Community College before joining the University of Massachusetts.
"It is frustrating because I was excited and prepared to play. Up until the last minute I thought I was going to play," she said.
"I did not have time to prepare for that decision.
"We are basketball players, and we want to play basketball more than anything.
"We wanted to help our teammates in the smallest way possible. We wanted to be on the court and help them when they needed," she pointed out.
Despite Cape Verde's failure to factor in the battle for the two places for African teams at the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women, Pina is adamant she will come back.
"This is not a one-off experience with national team," she said.
"I am committed to the national team, I want to come back and be an even better player so AfroBasket (Women) can see what they are missing."
Barros, who is from a family that immigrated to the USA several decades ago, was born in Bedford, Massachusetts and plays basketball at the Community College of Rhode Island.
Being called up for the national and help the islanders compete for a place for Turkey 2014 was a personal ambition of hers.
"I have always wanted to be here, and not being able to play it is tough," she explained.
"It hurt when we found out we could not play. We are here to support our team, no matter what.
"Our coach gave me the bad news. I was mad, but there was nothing I could do about it.
"I am hoping to come back here in two years, and show what we are made of, what they have missed out this year."
This was Cape Verde's first appearance at AfroBasket Women since 2007.
For full and in-depth coverage of AfroBasket Women 2013, go to the official website http://maputo2013.fibaafrica.com.