Mauritania basketball tournament reaches final stage
By Mohamed Foily Samba Vall for Magharebia in Nouakchott — 23/07/10
The last games of the Mauritanian Basketball Federation's tournament are under way, leaving fans hungry for more hoops action.
The competition spans all categories (seniors, juniors, cadets) with women's teams well represented.
The July 20th-August 7th competition is being held on the court of the capital's Youth and Sports Management Training Centre court, and visiting teams are staying at the Nouakchott Olympic Complex hotel.
The first game of the recent round saw a clash of two women's teams, ASC Armee and Nasr Sebkha, with the former coming out ahead, 59-27.
ASC Armee, dubbed "The Soldiers", were spearheaded by the experienced Medina Watt and Anta Diop and backed up by Penda M’Baye, who was recruited from Senegal at great expense.
The Soldiers thrashed the young team-mates of Nasr Sebkha's Mariem Ba. Stronger around the net and more skilful, Watt and Diop's team dominated every quarter.
After the game, ASC Armee manager Cheibani Lo warned her players not to get carried away over their "easy" win.
"Sure, we won easily against a team that wasn't able to find its bearings," said the manager. "But the competitions run a long time, because we have yet to play other games that won't be like this one."
"As the competition progresses, it will get harder," the manager told Magharebia after the game. "So we need to be careful and concentrate."
Veteran player Watt told journalists after the game: "We won, and that's good. But last year we started off just like this by beating Mauritel, only to lose in the final against the same team. This is just the beginning, and we need to keep working hard."
Nasr Sebkha manager Saer Fall had harsh criticism for the referee, who imposed five penalties on the team's main star, Aissata Kane, for fouls he believed she had not committed.
"The referee distorted the match from the second quarter onwards by declaring a technical foul that wasn't actually a foul, and it continued with his determination to punish Aissata Kane, who just dribbled in an acceptable way. It's his fault if my team was put off," said the manager.
Fall conceded, however, that ASC Armee had played strongly, saying: "The team's managers have picked the best players from the teams in Nouakchott, in addition to the Senegalese players."
The first vice president of the Mauritanian Basketball Federation, Sy Abdoulaye, aka Pecos, said: "It was a passable game, but it must be said that ASC Armee were a lot stronger."
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