Impeccable so far, the Senegal Lions were knocked out this Saturday in the semi-final of the Afrobasket men Rwanda 2021 by a beautiful Ivorian team (75-65). The Ivorians join in the final the defending champion, Tunisia, victorious over Cape Verde by the same score (75-65).
The editions go by and look the same for the Senegal national basketball team. Indeed, since 2005, the Lions have lost all their semi-finals (2013, 2015, 2017 and 2021).
No 12th final and no 6th sacred for Senegal
Cited among the favourites, Senegal fell from high and still struggles to reach the square of As. An equation that the Lions have not been able to solve for 16 years. Suffice to say that the curse of the semi-finals continues for Senegal. In addition, the Lions who dream of the continental trophy that has eluded them since 1997 must still take their troubles patiently. The end of the tunnel has not yet been reached.
Dominant Elephants to the End
As in the quarter-final against Angola, Senegal ran behind the score throughout the game. Boniface Ndong’s men have lost every quarter except the third (17-13, 19-16, 17-19. Clumsy and confusing speed and haste, Brancou Badio’s teammates fell on a bone. The Ivorians managed to thwart the game of Senegal while favouring the interior game and zone defence.
Côte d’Ivoire in the final 16 years later
Unrecognizable and uninspired, the teammates of Gorgui Sy Dieng (top scorer of the match with 24 points, 11 rebounds) stopped in the semifinals to the chagrin of the Senegalese supporters. But they have a bronze medal to go for against Cape Verde this Sunday at 11:30 am, in the small final. With already 17 medals (5 in gold, 6 in silver and 5 in bronze), that is to say, the third most medalist selection in the history of AfroBasket behind Angola and Egypt, Senegal has an opportunity to glean a new medal.
Heroic, the Elephants snatch their first African basketball championship final since 2005. In the final, they will face the defending champion, Tunisia this Sunday at the Kigali Arena.
If Tunisia intends to keep its title and offer itself a third title, Côte d’Ivoire leaves its share aiming for a second continental crown after that of 1985. The Tunisia-Ivory Coast final scheduled for Sunday at 3 p.m. promises sparks.