By Owolabi Abiola/First Zeal Media Cast
Morocco on Thursday became the first team to reach the FIBA AfroBasket 2017 Semi-Finals thanks to 66-62 victory over Egypt.Although Morocco guard Ali Lahrich, who has been sensational throughout the tournament, had a game to forget, head coach Said El Bouzidi smartly called up veteran Zakaria El Masbahi to lead proceeding.
The 38-year guard converted three of his five three-pointers attempts to finish with a team-high 17 points, while Egypt shooting guard Ibrahim El Gammal led all scorers with 22 points.
With the win, Morocco have reached the last four of the competition for the first time since 1980 when they hosted and claimed a Third-Place in the competition.
“This is a win for our people back home,” said Soufiane Kourodu few minutes after the historic win.
“We came to this tournament facing several adversities, but our team spirit and desire to win allowed us to get the win,” he said.
Meanwhile, Egypt forward Youssef Aboushousha paid tribute to Morocco.
“They were the better team today. We have played our very best, but they were able to make too many three-pointers.”
Morocco will face Tunisia that blow out DR Congo 81-60 on Friday in the semi final.
The other semifinal pairing is between Senegal that beat Angola 66-57, to secure a Semi-Finals spot and defending Champions Nigeria who overcome stubborn Cameroon 106-91,to reach the last four for the second time in a row.