The only way to describe Radhouane Slimane’s latest appearance for Tunisia is to say that the man is quite simply ageless.
The 6ft 8in (2.02m) small forward, who turns 38 next month, runs the floor, jumps, fights for his country as if he were some 15 years younger.
He is a true leader on this Tunisian team.
As Tunisia extended their winning streak to six games in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers last month, Slimane revealed to FIBA.basketball what makes him so fun to watch.
“Our fans give you that extra motivation and encouragement to play at your best. I couldn’t have asked for more. Playing for these fans you don’t just give 100 percent. Instead, you give 200 percent,” he said.
During the third window, Tunisia beat Group A opponents Chad, Guinea and Cameroon to become one of the two teams – along with Nigeria – to close the First Round of the African Qualifiers unbeaten in six games.
At times, watching the Etoile Sportive du Sahel star in action brought back memories of when, alongside Makram Ben Romdhane and Co., Tunisia stunned the continent of Africa by winning the FIBA AfroBasket in 2011.
“I have no secrets about my fitness. it’s all about work, work and more work. I work very hard every day, I have a good schedule of life,” he said.
But that’s not all. Playing in front of Tunisia fans, he points out, is something truly special.
“It’s a great feeling playing on a beautiful basketball court like this (Salle Omnisport de Rades) and getting to sing the national anthem along with our fans is indescribable.”
Here’s an example of how Slimane helps Tunisia become a tougher team to beat.
With a spot ensured in Group E of the Second Round of the African Qualifiers, Tunisia will go up against Angola, Egypt, and Morocco in September.
And Slimane, who has appearances in six AfroBaskets, a World Cup and an Olympics to his name, feels it’s about time to extend his storied national team career.
“The Second Round will be more difficult because we’ll face better teams. But our target remains the same. We know that every team will try to beat us, but we want to win all our games. I want to play at China 2019 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.”
Asked to elaborate on what his role in the team is, Slimane said: “Coach (Mario) Palma said to me that he needed my experience to help put the team in a winning position,” said the man who was left out the Tunisian squad that finished runners-up at 2015 FIBA AfroBasket.
“I try and do my very best to help build the chemistry of the team. So far, things are working well, we won the African championship last year and we have 70 percent of chances to qualify for the World Cup.”
Under FIBA’s new competition system, the teams that finish in the first and second places of Groups E and F, followed by the best third-place team will represent Africa at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China.