After the inspirational win by the Egyptian U16 (under sixteen) Men’s National Basketball team against Mali in the Men’s African Basketball Championship in July, the women’s team have kept Egypt’s winning streak going strong. Earlier this week, the U16 women’s team proudly secured a silver medal in the Women’s African Basketball Championship finals in Kigali, Rwanda, thus qualifying for next year’s World Cup.
In the heated final, the Egyptian U16 Women’s National Basketball team played valiantly, but lost out to all-time champion Mali, who went home with the gold.
Known to have the best U16 women’s performing team on the entire continent, Mali has won first place in every tournament since the championship was launched in 2009. Although Egypt has made it to the finals on four separate occasions in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2019, as of yet they have not been able to capture the gold medal.
One of Egypt’s players, Menna el Gharini, who wears jersey 48, spoke to eniGma about her experience at the championship. “It was a dream come true! It’s something that I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember. You’re competing on a completely different level both physically and tactically,” she shares.
El Gharini explains that although they didn’t win the final, by coming in second, they have qualified to compete in the 2020 World Cup hosted by Romania. “I cannot believe that we are actually going to the World Cup next August. It’s almost a fairytale. Everyone competing in the World Cup respects you and it doesn’t matter whether you stand in the first, second or third place.” By competing on a global level, the U16’s Women’s National Basketball team are proving to the world that with hard work and determination Egyptian girls can succeed.
Aside from the thrill of the win and the excitement surrounding the games, the experience of playing with committed teammates was hugely formative for the young players. “I got to experience something extraordinary, and the best part about it is that I got to experience it alongside amazing players. I’ll forever be eternally grateful to them and their presence in my life!”
When it comes to youth basketball, next year is definitely one to watch, as after securing the gold medal in the African Championship, the Men’s U16 National Basketball team are also heading to the 2020 World Cup in Bulgaria. Having won the African Championship four times, in 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2019, Egypt’s U16 Men’s National Basketball team are in with a real shot of victory on the world stage.
Both the U16 men’s and women’s teams have proudly secured Egypt’s place on the map with their incredible performances this year, and we look forward to seeing what they will achieve next year in their respective World Cups.