Ade Koko, the coach of Congo’s CNSS, is aiming for a top-four finish in the recently established Africa Women’s Basketball League (AWBL).
The Democratic Republic of the Congo club did not advance past the round of eight in the previous two FIBA Africa Champions Cup Women (2019 and 2022).
Prior to the ABWL competition, which takes place in Alexandria, Egypt from December 11–19, Koko admitted that the team struggled to become elite at this level. Still, finishing in the top four is the objective.
“Our objective is to finish in the top four or higher. We have lost in the Quarter-Finals in the last two tournaments. But we still aim high. We want to be among the top four clubs in Africa… That is our objective,” said Koko.
The coach of CNSS also thought back on the knowledge he gained from the competition the previous year.
“The lesson was simple. We had a problem in the one-on-one situations. I think the opposition outsmarted us in those situations. When teams had the ball, the first thing was to attack us inside… That hurt us,” said Koko.
Koko will have a strong core of players who participated in the competition in Mozambique the previous year.
The team still includes players like forwards Debarah Tshiyoyo, Grace Basiki, and Christine Mitschiabu, as well as point guard Katia Mbelu.
Koko advises his players to stay focused on the goal and learn from their mistakes as they get ready to fight in Alexandria.
“Some of our players will participate in their first African club competition. We have a young team. I want them to learn. That is my first message to them,” said Koko. To the ones who have already participated, they have a guiding role to play. There will be a lot of pressure, and we should let it get us or will lose sight of our goal.”
Koko and CNSS will be aware that other teams are preventing them from accomplishing their goal when they get to Alexandria for the ABWL.
Therefore, in order for the Congolese club to leave their mark on the competition, they must get off to a strong start.