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FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament Team Review: Angola

Review: Despite the team's overall struggles, NBA star Bruno Fernando and Jilson Bango emerged as standout performers, showcasing their talent and resilience. However, for Angola's national basketball program to reach the next level, Head Coach Jose Claros Canals must address several critical areas.

Published on

July 8, 2024

Last Updated on

July 8, 2024

Ayo Biyibi

Ayo Biyibi

Staff Writer

FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament Team Review: Angola

FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament Team Review: Angola

Bruno Fernando (ANG), 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament

In the 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifiers Tournament held in Spain, Angola faced a challenging journey that culminated in their elimination from qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics. The tournament highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of the Angolan national team, revealing areas for improvement as they strive for future success.

In their opening match, Angola faced the host nation, Spain, in Group A. Despite a valiant effort, Angola fell short with a final score of 89-81. The game was tightly contested, with Spain's depth and crucial plays in the final moments proving decisive.

Angola's NBA star Bruno Fernando delivered a strong performance, recording a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. He was ably supported by Jilson Bango, who contributed 15 points and nine rebounds. Angola excelled in rebounding, outpacing Spain 40-33 and scoring 20 second-chance points compared to Spain's 8. However, Spain's superior playmaking, reflected in their 24 assists to Angola's 16, alongside their consistency, ultimately led to their victory.

Gerson Goncalves (ANG), 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament

The second game against Lebanon was a must-win for Angola, but unfortunately, they eventually succumbed to a heartbreaking 74-70 loss. The game, characterised by subpar shooting from both teams, saw Angola shoot 33.8% from the field while Lebanon managed 37.7%. This defeat dashed Angola's hopes for Olympic qualification.

The loss to Lebanon was particularly disappointing, coming less than 24 hours after their taxing game against Spain. Angola's NBA star Bruno Fernando, who scored 12 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and contributed two assists and a steal against Lebanon, expressed his frustration post-game, stating:

"I don't think we came out with the right energy, with the right approach."

Throughout the tournament, Angola's performance was led by its two key players, Jilson Bango and Bruno Fernando, who both averaged double-doubles. Bango averaged 13.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, while Fernando contributed 12 points and 10 rebounds. However, Angola's guard play, particularly from Childe Dundao, fell short. Dundao averaged 9.0 points and a disappointing 2.0 assists per game, though he did contribute defensively with 2.5 steals per game.

As a team, Angola averaged 75.5 points, 43 rebounds, 15.5 assists, and 14 turnovers per game. These statistics lag behind those of Spain, who won their 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifiers Tournament and secured a spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics. Spain averaged 90 points, 22.3 assists, and only ten turnovers per game, highlighting the areas where Angola needs improvement.

Watch Angola vs Lebanon Game Highlights Below

Angola needs to enhance their talent pool and strengthen their bench to bolster their chances in future tournaments (including the upcoming FIBA AfroBasket 2025). Head coach Jose Claros Canals has emphasised the importance of integrating more Angolan-based talent into the national team.

A potential addition is Benção Vungo, an NBA Academy Africa graduate and former AfricaBasket Youth Player of the Month. Currently playing for the East Carolina Pirates in the NCAA, Vungo could bring much-needed pace and depth to the senior team's bench.

While Angola's performance in the 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifiers fell short of their goals, the tournament provided valuable lessons and highlighted the potential within the team. With strategic adjustments and the inclusion of emerging talents, Angola can look forward to a more competitive future on the international basketball stage.

[Photography / Imagery Courtesy of FIBA]

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