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FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament Team Review: Côte d'Ivoire

Review: Although anticipated to reach at least the 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifiers Tournament semi-finals, Côte d'Ivoire's journey concluded prematurely during the group stage, following losses to Lithuania and Mexico. Despite their early exit, the tournament uncovered the individual brilliance of Nisre Zouzoua and Assemian Moulare.

Published on

July 8, 2024

Last Updated on

July 8, 2024

Emmanuel Shine

Emmanuel Shine

Staff Writer

FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament Team Review: Côte d'Ivoire

FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament Team Review: Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire's FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (FOQT) campaign concluded without securing a spot in the Olympics, but their performance left a lasting impression on the international basketball community.

The objective for the Ivorian team was clear: Qualify for the Olympics. They were well aware of the formidable challenge ahead, including adjusting to a different time zone, enduring back-to-back games, and facing strong opponents equally determined to win.

Recently, Côte d'Ivoire has enjoyed considerable success in football, winning the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in February. Inspired by this triumph, they set their sights on Olympic qualification. Drawn into a pool with Mexico and Lithuania, both of which boast robust basketball traditions and competitive domestic leagues, the Ivorians faced a tough road ahead.

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This current Ivorian squad is considered a golden generation, blending seasoned veterans with promising young talent. They aimed to join South Sudan as the only African nation to secure a spot in the Paris Olympics. The team quickly gelled and was poised for competition in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Their first match was against Lithuania, a team fresh off a convincing victory over Mexico. Lithuania's lineup included the formidable Sacramento Kings center Domantas Sabonis, who scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Despite a valiant effort, Côte d'Ivoire fell short with a close 97-93 loss. The game underscored the importance of composure in high-pressure situations as the Ivorians relinquished their lead in the final quarter.

Nisre Zouzoua (CIV), 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament

Despite the loss, there were numerous positives. Key players such as Thompson, Moularé, Dally, Diabaté, and Zouzoua scored in double digits and forced innumerable turnovers from Lithuania. This momentum carried into their must-win match against Mexico. Côte d'Ivoire led through the first three quarters but struggled in the fourth, ultimately losing 92-81. Paul Stoll and Joshua Ibarra spearheaded Mexico's comeback with 23 and 22 points, respectively.

Despite the Ivorian team's journey ending in disappointment, their resilience and skill were truly admirable. Their balanced contributions from both senior players and young talent, alongside a clearly defined playing style, promise a bright future for Ivorian basketball. Questions linger about whether this tournament marked the final national team appearance for veteran Solo Diabaté, but the Ivorians remain committed to their progress and future competitions.

[Photography / Imagery Courtesy of FIBA]

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