JAKARTA (INDONESIA) – Cote d’Ivoire, a team from Africa, showed strong nerves to earn their very first victory at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.
Despite a very close game against Iran in Group G, where the score was tight until the end, Cote d’Ivoire managed to win 71-69. The outcome was decided by Solo Diabate’s three free throws in the final moments.
When Arsalan Kazemi scored to put Iran ahead by one point (69-68) with only 13 seconds remaining, it seemed tough for Cote d’Ivoire. However, Solo Diabate emerged as the hero by making a brave drive towards the hoop. This led to him getting fouled and getting the opportunity to win the game from the free-throw line.
The standout player of the game was Nisre Zouzoua, who displayed confidence and skill by making difficult jump shots. He contributed 17 points to the team’s victory. Alongside Diabate, Zouzoua played a crucial role in the backcourt, even as one of the team leaders, Bazoumana Kone, was sidelined due to an ankle injury.
Although Behnam Yakhchali scored 19 points for Iran, including a crucial three-pointer, it wasn’t enough to secure a win.
Key Stats: In their previous game, Cote d’Ivoire had only made 5 free throws, but this time they excelled in attacking the basket and made 20 of 21 free throws. This made a big difference, especially in the first half, where they converted 11 free throws compared to Iran’s 2.
What’s Next: Cote d’Ivoire’s victory boosts their hopes for the Paris 2024 Olympics. They’ll be keeping an eye on the match between Brazil and Spain later. Their final group game will be against Brazil, and they still have a chance to advance to the Second Round.
Iran faces a challenge as they are likely to play against Lebanon and a determined France in the Classification Round. Their hopes rely on Spain winning so that they can continue their journey.
They Said: “After losing a tough game against Brazil, my team responded well. I think we deserved to win this game.” – Hakan Demir, Iran head coach
“We had to respond strongly after the last game against Brazil. I believe we did it the best way we could. We had control of the game for most of the time. At the last minute, they made better decisions and won. I’m proud of my team, my teammates, and the coaches. We fought until the end and need to continue this way.” – Behnam Yakhchali, Iran
“The game was mentally tough. It might not have been a high-quality basketball game, but it was exciting with ups and downs, runs, and changes in momentum. I’m happy for the players and the team because they worked hard throughout the game and deserved the victory. Iran also played well, and their zone defense caused us difficulties. A coach is always happy when the team wins.” – Dejan Prokic, Cote d’Ivoire head coach
“This win gives us the chance to keep dreaming. We have one more game against Brazil, and we dream of beating them to qualify for the Olympics. That’s our goal. For me, basketball isn’t just a job. I play to have fun and win, of course. I like challenging games, and I’m happy the coach trusted me in this situation. I didn’t want to let him, myself, and my teammates down. I’m glad it worked out.” – Solo Diabate, Cote d’Ivoire