Senegal are the Belgian Cats' second opponent tonight in the Olympic qualifiers in Antwerp. The current number 20 in the world should in principle not pose a problem for the Cats, although there is a doomsday scenario – which is very unlikely – on the table.
Senegal is traditionally one of the strongest basketball nations on the African continent. Senegalese women have already been crowned African champions 11 times, which is as many as all other African countries combined.
In recent years, Senegal has surpassed Nigeria in Africa, which won the gold medal in the last 4 African Championships. Mali, currently ranked second in Africa, has also become a formidable rival to Senegal.
Yesterday, in the opening match of the OKT tournament, Senegal once again had to bow its head against Nigeria despite a strong first-half performance. As a result, the backs of Senegalese ladies are instantly against the wall today.
Just as at the 2023 African Championships, where they took silver, Senegal is also counting on a strong team at the OKT in Antwerp, with several players who can score.
The main character of the Senegalese is the guard Sierra Dillard. The American-born woman, who makes her living in Turkey's second class, obtained citizenship last year. At Afrobasket 2023, she was her team's top scorer averaging nearly 21 points per game.
40-year-old Omol Sarr, who last year worked in the Belgian competition with Castors, is also in Antwerp. The powerful striker now plays for Bursa FC in Türkiye.
So, there is some experience with Senegal, but overall, this is not a team that should embarrass the Belgian Cats.
If the US fulfills its duty against Nigeria today and then Belgium beats Senegal, the Cats will be guaranteed a ticket to Paris.
Although there is also a worse – albeit very unlikely – scenario on the table tonight: if Nigeria and Senegal win, the Belgian Cats will be eliminated from the Olympics. If logic is respected, the matter may not come to that.
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