Edy Tavares believes that Cape Verde remains relatively unfamiliar to many people.
He aims to transform that reality through the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.
“The significance of this (World Cup) is well understood,” shared the seasoned big man. “Hence, we must take full advantage of it, strive for victory, and endeavor to increase awareness about our nation, given its small size. Often, people are unsure of Cape Verde’s location.”
He further noted with a smile, “I believe that if we perform well, the situation might change.”
Cape Verde secured their debut appearance at FIBA’s premier event through the African Qualifiers, clinching their spot by defeating Cote d’Ivoire on the last day of the tournament. With a population of merely around 600,000, they scripted history as the tiniest nation ever to compete in the World Cup.
Undoubtedly one of the country’s finest talents, Tavares takes immense pride in being part of this extraordinary group of Blue Sharks that have earned their place on basketball’s grandest platform, an achievement hardly anticipated by anyone.
He expressed, “This is the dream.”
“Nobody ever imagined that we’d come close to participating in this event. It’s truly incredible for me to experience this firsthand, not just watching it on TV after I retire, alongside the older generation,” added the 31-year-old. “Hence, I feel fortunate to belong to the generation that marked its debut at the World Cup.”
Tavares not only contributes to the entire journey but also acts as the team’s cornerstone due to his extensive experience. A member of the men’s national team since 2013, he is arguably the most decorated among the squad, boasting a multitude of championships and professional accolades.
He has fully embraced this role.
“It holds immense significance for me. I’ve always wanted to contribute to my country. This is a remarkable experience,” he conveyed. “I aim to play for my national team at the highest attainable level, to leave a lasting impact, and to feel that I’ve made a positive contribution to my country and the national team.”
His legacy is undoubtedly assured. On Monday night, Tavares further enriched his legacy by spearheading the Blue Sharks’ comeback, orchestrating an 81-75 victory over Venezuela in the World Cup. This victory brought immense joy to the fans who witnessed it live at the Okinawa Arena.
Standing tall at 2.21 meters (7’3″), the center contributed 6 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. He played pivotal roles on both ends of the court during the crucial moments, enabling his team to rebound from a 13-point deficit in the second quarter.
For him, this triumph was evidence that they had not merely arrived at the World Cup to participate.
He remarked, “This is a remarkable accomplishment for me, the entire team, and the country. To live the dream that we’ve worked tirelessly for, it’s truly extraordinary. We are committed to giving our best and achieving our objective. Our ambition is to secure victory,” as Cape Verde advanced to a 1-1 standing in Group F.
They are indeed aiming for the stars.
“We are now setting our sights on winning and earning a spot in the Olympics,” he concluded.