By James Crook

108828949March 30 - Host nation Ivory Coast have been drawn against Egypt, Senegal and Algeria in Group A for the 2013 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Afrobasket, and key player Soloumane Diabate is tipping them to go all the way this year after finishing runners-up and in fourth place at their last two attempts to clinch the African basketball Championships.

"We played Senegal and Egypt a few times." said the point guard, who plies his trade with Pro-A Nancy in France.

"We know them well, but I don't know much about the Algerian team,

"The best thing we could give our countrymen and women is the African title, and we'll play for it.

"We finished runners-up four years ago and fourth in 2011.

"I think it is time to win the Afrobasket."

Elsewhere in the tournament, which is due to be held in Abidjan between August 20 and 31, holders Tunisia were left happy with their draw, after they were allocated a slot in Group B alongside North African neighbours Morocco, Rwanda and debutants Burkina Faso.

Tunisia defeated both Morocco and Rwanda in 2009 and 2011, and captain Amine Rzig did not hide his delight at the draw.

149592308Tunisia captain Amine Rzig (right) is confident after his team was drawn alongisde Morocco, Rwanda and Burkina Faso in the 2013 Afrobasket

"Although we respect our opponents, I must say this is a good group for us." he said

"We have chances to progress to the knock out stage of the tournament."

Ten-time African champions Angola have been drawn against Central African Republic, Cape Verde and Mozambique in Group C; three teams they have faced and beaten since 2007.

Mozambique head coach Milagre Macome was under no illusions as to the task that faces his side, saying: "It is a very difficult group as our opponents are very experienced.

"We will start our homework in the end of April and I hope to have a competitive team by the time we make it to Abidjan."

In Group D, Cameroon will face Nigeria, Mali and the Republic of Congo, who are making their first appearance at the tournament since 2009.

"Nigeria is the toughest opponent in that pool," said Cameroon player Parfait Bitee.

"Facing Nigeria is always a big deal, it is going to be a challenge, but we can't overlook other teams in the group.

"We have beaten them [Nigeria] in Libya, but their team has improved in the past few years.

"Hopefully we will put our best team together,"

The top three teams from the 2013 Afrobasket will gain qualification to the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, which is due to be held in Spain.

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