A group of 12 African nations are set to take part in the inaugural edition of the FIBA AfroCan in Bamako in Mali.
FIBA AfroCan consists of 12 teams and this first tournament will bring Algeria, Angola, Chad, DR Congo, Egypt, Guinea, the Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia together in a bid by the International Basketball Federation to give African players more opportunity to play in a major tournament.
The 12 teams are divided into four groups of three for the 10-day tournament due to open tomorrow and conclude on July 27.
Being a new competition with new players and coaching staff involved, predicting a winner of the FIBA AfroCan 2019 is a hard task although hosts Mali and Morocco's experienced roster - most of whom have played together for over a decade - are predicting to be among the favourites.
Morocco's best player of the moment Abdelhakim Zouita will be joined by his country's trio of rising stars Mouhamed Choua, Reda Ali Harras and Sami Al Uariachi.
With exception of Harras, who last featured for Morocco at FIBA AfroBasket 2015, Choua and Zouita have been regulars for Morocco in recent years.
Mali, meanwhile, will be led by the 6ft 10in Ibrahim Djambo.
Djambo, who played a key role in Mali at FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers last year, wants the AfroCan to be organised every two years to serve as an avenue for players who could not get an opportunity to feature for their countries at the FIBA AfroBasket and other major competitions in Africa.
The 27-year-old who is one of the two Europe-based players invited by the Mali's head coach Remy Giuitta to boost the team for the first edition of this continental bonanza praised this initiative.
"Like every other African players who play in Europe and America we commend the initiative by FIBA Africa for the introduction of this Championship since FIBA AfroBasket will now be played every four years," Djambo, who plays for Angers Basketball Club in France, said.
"But I want to plead with FIBA Africa to make the AfroCan a two-year event just like the former system of FIBA AfroBasket so that players who play in African leagues will have an event they look forward to every two years and showcase their talents."