In FIBA’s calendar, African Basketball Championship is an extremely important event. The solidly built African athletes are gifted with stamina and have the potential to become top-quality players with proper skill development. The European Clubs and NBA already have the Africans among their ranks. As basketball becomes more commercial, a larger number of African players will move to Europe and America, if they show talent in their national leagues and all-African competitions. This happened in football some years ago and the same is true for basketball. African Basketball authorities, already convinced on the benefits of the game, are trying to attract investment for developing new talent. The game is becoming more popular and glamorous and the authorities have nothing to lose if they approach international investors for building new facilities, promoting training camps, and proving to stakeholders that basketball can indeed be used as a tool for promotion of products and generating business profits. Sports, worldwide, whether it is football, tennis or cricket have ceased to be looked upon merely as leisure activities, because with the advent of television commercials, these sports have begun to make great business sense. The rise of basketball in Africa has been slow, because in most nations, education, food and health are higher priorities. Regardless, there are tales of talented African basketball stars, who have made it big at the world stage. Since competitions at Euro-league and NBA are becoming fiercer by the day, the Europeans and Americans will be looking for African talent as the days go by. That, precisely, is the reason why African Basketball is seen by FIBA as a fertile ground for upcoming talent. Therefore, the 2014 African Champions Cup, which concluded in Tunisia on Saturday December 20, 2014 attracted world-wide attention. In the final game played in Tunis, Receativo do Libolo of Angola defeated Tunisia’s Etoile Sportive Rades 86-68. Libolo was the outstanding team in the tournament with an overall record of 7-0.
The 29th edition of the FIBA African Champions Cup was held in Tunisia during December 11-20, 2014. 11 African nations participated and they played in two groups of 6 and 5 teams each. After the league phase, four top teams from each group entered the knock-out stage and played quarterfinals and semi-finals. The final was played on December 20. Earlier in the semifinals on Friday, Tunisian team Etoile Sportive Rades defeated Egypt’s Sporting Alexandria 93-80 to enter the final. For Rades, Mohamed Abbassi scored 19 points and led his side’s score against the Egyptians. In the other semifinal, Angolan champions, Recreativo do Libolo beat Tunisia’s Club Africain 84-63, inspired by a fine performance from Eduardo Mingas, who finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
The Angolan Libolo and the Tunisian Rades faced each other for the final showdown on Saturday. Both sides had finished as the toppers in their groups. Cheered by Tunisians, Rades began well with Cheyne Gadson leading the charge. He scored from all his three first attempts from beyond the arc and mustered 19 points to give his team a 36-29 lead at the break. Afterwards, however, the Angolans regrouped, made proper adjustments in their defense and played a lively second half. Despite the boost from a rowdy home crowd, the Angolans led 37-21 in the third quarter. Tight defense from Libolo allowed Gadson to score just two more points in the third period. He finished with a game-high 24. Other double-figure scorer for Rades was Mohamed Abbassi with 18 points. For Libolo, Milton Barros led all scorers with 21 points, Valdelicio Joaquim finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds and tournament MVP Eduardo Mingas added crucial 15 points with seven rebounds. Libolo not only emerged as champions of the 2014 ACC but had an overall tournament record of 7-0. It was their first ACC title after they had finished third in 2013. This year’s victory was the second successive ACC title triumph for an Angolan team against Tunisia after Angola’s Primeiro D’Agosto won last year by defeating Etoile Sportive du Sahel. Tunisia, however, had a consolation win for the third place when their team Club Africain defeated Sporting Alexandria of Egypt 79-74.