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Canivete ready to be counted on for Mozambique

FOR Mozambican two-way player David Canivete Jr being relied upon on to help the team to win basketball games is the feeling he’s missed a great deal. Due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in his home country, Canivete Jr like many other ballers couldn’t do what he loves most. And that is to play basketball.

Now that basketball activities have been allowed to resume by the government of that country, Canivete and his teammates have been hard at work preparing for the colossal task waiting in Kigali, Rwanda. Mozambique will face African giants Angola, Senegal and a Kenya Morans team on the rise, in the FIBA Afrobasket qualifiers from 25-29 November.

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David Canivete Jr aims help maintain Mozambique’s tradition of qualifying for the AfroBasket. Pictures: FIBA

The ambition for Mozambique is to punch in their ticket for next years Afrobasket tournament on 24 August – 5 September, also in Kigali.

But, it is jumping the hurdle of a tough Group B that Mozambique have to negotiate first. And Canivete Jr will be one of the players his country calls on to help in this endeavour.

“I missed the fact that people can count me. The fact that I can help my teammates and my coach win games. I miss the fans as well because it is for them we play. But, I have missed the feeling of being that player the team can count on,” said the Ferroviario de Maputo player reflecting on his time away from the court.

Heading into the qualifying campaign Canivete Jr, fancies Mozambique’s chances of qualifying for the Afrobasket, because most players playing in the continent have been inactive. So, the qualifiers will serve as a first taste of competitive action for most players, since the lifting of national lockdown restrictions in their respective countries.

I don’t think many of us have played competitive basketball. Probably players from Senegal, who play overseas will have the advantage because their team comprises guys that play outside of that country. And the leagues overseas have resumed. So our hope is, to at least win two games against Angola and Kenya. But they are also in an equally good position to qualify,” said the 31-year-old, who pointed out that playing the qualifiers at a neutral venue (Kigali Arena bio bubble) has it’s pros and cons.
“If we win all our games, that would be good because none of the teams has the home-court advantage. It’s a disadvantage as well because you don’t get to play in front of your home fans.”

Despite the long stretch without any competitive basketball, Canivete maintains Mozambique has good shot at qualifying. His optimism stems from the fact that the bulk of the team will come from Ferroviario de Maputo side that had been preparing for the Basketball Africa League tournament, postponed to 2021.


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“We are in good shape because we have been practising for two or three months. My club was the only one practising here in Mozambique. We had an international competition, so we were allowed to prepare for that. So, there’s a good core to work with. Also included are two players from the Beira club, and we are expecting two players from Portugal,” said Canivete Jr, who has played in South Africa for the Phenomenal Phenoms.

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David Canivete, far left, poses with his teammates during the 2017 Afrobasket.

A seasoned campaigner in international competition, Canivete Jr is always ready to don  Mozambican vest. The experience he will add to Mozambique’s campaign will surely valuable.

“It’s a pleasure to play for the national team. It’s an honour for me to play alongside good players inside and outside of Mozambique. It means I am doing something right. I am staying shape and ready to represent my country. I hope that my experience will help the team. If we qualify, it will be my sixth Afrobasket. So, I am hoping to keep fit and healthy to help the team achieve this goal. I am going to give my blood and sweat. I will leave it all on the court,” said Canivete.

Mozambique will need Canivete’s and his teammate’s blood and sweat, and maybe some more to overcome their Group D opponents. And trying to maintain their tradition of being regular participants in the Afrobasket, they should spare no inch. It will be a tough group for Mozambique to navigate, but in overcoming the obstacles the taste of the promised land will be that sweeter.

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