Matt Costello fully engaged in Ivory Coast – FIBA ​​AfroBasket 2021

KIGALI (Rwanda) – Matt Costello is one of many players to make his African basketball debut at FIBA ​​AfroBasket 2021, which is celebrating its 30th edition.

Players and coaches from around the world added a new flavor and style of play to FIBA ​​Africa’s flagship tournament in Kigali, Rwanda.

One such player is the reliable Ivorian Matthew Costello of Baskonia SAD Basketball in the Spanish ACB League.

“OUR GOAL AS A TEAM IS TO WIN THE LAST TROPHY WINNED BY OUR COUNTRY IN 1985, AND I WILL ALWAYS MAKE MYSELF AVAILABLE FOR FUTURE TOURNAMENTS.”-Matt Costello

Born and raised in Michigan, United States of America, the 28-year-old striker has been huge for the ‘Elephants’.

The 6-foot-10 (2.08m) averaged team highs of 19 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and two blocks per game.

Costello was a versatile player for the Ivory Coast, which advanced to the AfroBasket quarter-finals for the first time since his adopted country reached the semi-finals in 2013.

matt costello

Costello stopped by to talk to FIBA.basketball about his new basketball experience.

“I feel happy with the team, especially the players who have accepted me as one of them, the coaching staff are great while the federation has been very supportive of us achieving success in our quest for Côte d’Ivoire to become a force to be reckoned with in Africa basket”, declared the one who occupied the position of naturalized player of the “Elephants”.

Ivory Coast beat Kenya, Nigeria and Mali to automatically qualify for the quarter-finals.

Costello admits it has been quite a challenge: “Although I enjoyed every moment with the team, I must admit that AfroBasket is one of the most difficult competitions I have ever played in my career. The championship is very physical but with great talents offered by all countries.”

For those unfamiliar with Costello’s career, the 28-year-old explained that “Basketball started out as fun when I was a kid playing with my friends on the open courts in the city of Michigan, but over time I fell in love with the sport and decided to take it up. make a career. Sport has taken me to many places and continents.”

Although Costello currently plays professionally in Spain, he briefly played for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.

“I made my professional career in America, in Europe and now with the Ivorian national team,” he recalled.

The 16-nation AfroBasket lasts about two weeks, but national teams usually spend weeks preparing before heading out for the competition stage. For some, it’s quite a burden.

Costello explained his own experience: “The most difficult challenge I have ever faced in my career is to leave my future wife alone in the family most of the time and I want to say a very big thank you to her for her resilience and her understanding to speak in my absence. .”

The 1985 African Championship winners from Ivory Coast look really competitive this time around.

After closing their qualifying campaign with a 6-0 mark, the Ivorians remained unbeaten after the quarter-finals, making it a 9-0 winning streak in the AfroBasket 2021 process so far.

“Our goal as a team is to lift the last trophy won by our country in 1985 and I will always make myself available for future tournaments,” Costello said.

FIBA

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