Souleyman Diabate drives the ball against Aleksander Roman Balcerowski of Poland
Souleyman Diabate will represent Ivory Coast in the 19th Fiba Basketball World Cup

As the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia prepare to become the first co-hosts of a Basketball World Cup, Africa’s five representatives are also eyeing history when the tournament tips off on Friday 25 August.

Eleven-time African champions Angola will be there alongside traditional contenders Egypt and Ivory Coast, while debutants Cape Verde and South Sudan will also try to steer the continent into the quarter-finals for the first time.

The 32-team tournament also acts as an Olympic qualifier, with the highest placed team taking one of Africa’s two slots at Paris 2024. Angola and Ivory Coast are the highest ranked African teams while the USA, even without their biggest NBA stars, are favourites to win for a sixth time.

Ahead of the 19th edition of the Fiba Basketball World Cup, BBC Sport Africa profiles the continent’s five teams along with their groups and schedules.

The format

A preliminary group stage sees the 32 nations split into eight groups of four teams. The top two will advance to a second group stage, each carrying over the result achieved against the other side that qualifies from their initial group.

Again, the top two from the second groups of four will advance to a knockout stage consisting of quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final. There will also be a bronze medal match and a series of matches for all nations to decide classification places from 32nd all the way up to fifth.

Fixtures will take place in three host cities in the Philippines: Bocaue, Quezon City and Pasay. Jakarta and Okinawa are the cities which will host games in Indonesia and Japan respectively.

Angola (World Rank – 41)

Fiba Basketball World Cup 2023 Group A countries
Point guard Childe Dundao has been one of Angola’s most consistent players
  • 25 August: Angola v Italy
  • 27 August: Angola v Philippines
  • 29 August: Angola v Dominican Republic

No nation has won more continental titles than Angola, who have also reached more World Cups than any African side.

But after a record 11 titles in 13 competitions up to and including 2013, Angola have since slipped, finishing outside Africa’s top four – for the first time in nearly four decades – in both 2017 and 2021.

It meant coach Josep Claros came under pressure to ensure Angola reached the World Cup for an African record-extending sixth straight time. And, while blooding new players, the Spaniard managed to qualify the Black Antelopes with a game to spare.

Best World Cup result

Angola’s best finish remains the 9th place they shared with Nigeria in 2006, the first year the tournament featured 24 teams – and Africa’s best result since Egypt finished fifth in 1950.

Players to watch

Claros counted on a strong core during the qualifiers including star guard Childe Dundao, who regularly top-scored, and Angola’s main man, Bruno Fernando, the first and only Angolan to play in the NBA. .

Insider view: N’gouabi Salvador, Angolan basketball expert in Luanda

“We are a little bit afraid about our World Cup hopes because the results in preparation games do not inspire confidence. There’s a widespread view that our squad is not as talented as previous ones, but we think the physicality of some of our players could make a difference.

“Despite many doubts, we are still expectant – the team is young and, for the first time, we have an NBA player in our squad which gives us a ray of hope.”

South Sudan (World Rank – 62)

Fiba Basketball World Cup 2023 Group B countries
Los Angeles Lakers’ Wenyen Gabriel brings star quality to South Sudan
  • 26 August: South Sudan v Puerto Rico
  • 28 August: South Sudan v China
  • 30 August: South Sudan v Serbia

South Sudan are the Cinderella side at this year’s World Cup, with the planet’s newest nation qualifying 12 years after gaining independence and three years after the end of a devastating six-year civil war that left 400,000 dead and displaced millions.

Few expected the Bright Stars to shine so quickly but they did so in style, making history when becoming the first team to qualify for the World Cup at their first attempt.

Much of their success belongs to two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng, the federation president who also shared coaching duties with Houston Rockets’ assistant coach Royal Ivey during qualification.

Best World Cup result

South Sudan will take on Puerto Rico when they make their World Cup debut on 26 August.

Players to watch

Called up for the first time this month, Los Angeles Lakers’ Wenyen Gabrielexternal-link will be the star Bright Star. The 26-year-old played 68 NBA regular season games in the last campaign.

He will be ably supported by Chicago Bulls’ point guard Carlik Jones and the free-scoring Nuni Omot, who was named best player as his Al Ahly side won this year’s Basketball African League (BAL).

Insider view: Joseph Both, South Sudan radio producer in Juba

“Our basketball team is certainly going to make surprises in this World Cup. They have the manpower, ambition and the spirit of competition worthy of a World Cup team. With many of the squad coming from the US, Europe and Australia, they won’t fear any other team in this tournament.

“Yes, it is going to be tough but being there is worth celebrating.”

Egypt (World Rank – 55)

Fiba Basketball World Cup 2023 Group D countries
Amr Abdelhalim is one of the key scorers in the Egyptian side
  • 25 August: Egypt v Lithuania
  • 27 August: Egypt v Montenegro
  • 29 August: Egypt v Mexico

Egypt have been African champions five times, a record only beaten by Angola. But after reaching 10 continental finals in their first 13 tournaments, Egypt have made just one such appearance since 1993, finishing as runners-up in 2013.

After finishing 11th at the 16-team Afrobasket in 2021, Egypt appointed Roy Rana as coach and the Canadian qualified the Pharaohs with two games to spare.

The team will hope to improve their run of just two wins from their last 33 World Cup games.

Best World Cup result

The first African team to contest the World Cup in 1950, Egypt beat Ecuador, Spain, France and Chile to secure a historic fifth place – still Africa’s best ever performance.

Playing in their seventh World Cup – but just their second in nearly three decades – Egypt finished last out of 24 teams on their last appearance in 2014.

Players to watch

Point guard Ehab Amin regularly picks up MVP awards for his Cairo club Al Ahly, whom he helped win the BAL in May, while Amr Abdelhalim made history when scoring an African qualifying record of 42 points against South Sudan in February.

Insider view: Emad Abdeljalil, BBC Arabic sports editor in Cairo

“With Lithuania ranked eighth in the world, Montenegro 18th and Mexico 31st, it will be a big surprise if Egypt – ranked 55th – make it past the first round. I do not expect them to do it.

“In their favour, coach Rana built Canada’s youth programme and delivered the country’s first under-19 World Cup gold medal, so he does seem the right man for the job.”

Cape Verde (World Rank 64)

Fiba Basketball World Cup 2023 Group F countries
At 7’3”, Walter Tavares is regarded as one of the best ‘big men’ at the World Cup
  • 26 August: Cape Verde v Georgia
  • 28 August: Cape Verde v Venezuela
  • 30 August: Cape Verde v Slovenia

Fresh from reaching the Afrobasket semi-finals for only the second time, Cape Verde are set to make World Cup history.

The islanders will be the smallest nation ever to play at the tournament, with their population of around 600,000 marginally smaller than previous record holders Montenegro.

The feat was achieved as coach Emanuel Trovoada’s side came from 13 points down to beat 2021 Afrobasket runners-up Ivory Coast to clinch a famous qualification. .

Best World Cup result

Cape Verde will make their World Cup debut against Georgia on 26 August.

Player to watch

Spain-based Walter Tavares, 31, is the stand-out player in one of the oldest sides at the World Cup. Standing 7ft 3in tall, the impressive Real Madrid centre made the five-man team of the tournament at Afrobasket 2021.

Insider view: Marcos Fonseca, Cape Verde sports journalist in Praia

“Ahead of our first World Cup, Cape Verdeans hope the team can win at least one match and not lose the others too heavily.

“My hope is that we can surprise thanks to our unknown status, even if Europa League MVP Edy Tavares of Real Madrid does have considerable experience, as does Betinho Gomes.

“Leadership is one of our strengths, with coach Trovoada having worked internationally for many years. But being at the World Cup is already a big gain for the country, regardless of results.”

Ivory Coast (World Rank – 42)

Fiba Basketball World Cup 2023 Group G countries
Vafessa Fofana played in all 12 qualifying games for Ivory Coast
  • 26 August: Ivory Coast v Spain
  • 28 August: Ivory Coast v Iran
  • 30 August: Ivory Coast v Brazil

Runners-up at Afrobasket two years ago, as they reached only their second final since their last title in 1985, the two-time African champions are looking to improve a dismal record of one win from 20 World Cup games.

During qualification, the Ivorian federation replaced Spanish coach Ignacio Lezkano with Slovenia’s Dejan Prokic.

With Prokic introducing debutants in the final round of matches, both strategies paid off as the Elephants packed their trunks for the World Cup with a game to spare.

Best World Cup result

Ivory Coast will be at their fifth World Cup and hoping to better a 13th-place finish – something they achieved in 1982 and 1986.

Players to watch

Vafessa Fofana was the only Ivorian to appear in all 12 qualifiers and the Paris-born forward regularly weighed in with points and rebounds. He was ably supported by Maxence Dadiet, another go-to man in qualifying when the team needed baskets.

Insider view: Nicolas Negoce, BBC reporter in Abidjan

“Basketball is both very important and popular in Ivory Coast, which may love football but which also has thousands of basketball players and fans.

“Ivorian supporters here are optimistic the team can go far in this competition even though they acknowledge it won’t be easy. The Elephants have experience and can also take confidence from being the first African side to qualify. However, the team’s reputed strength of character will be needed when facing Brazil, Ireland and Spain’s reigning world champions.”