“The connection with Cape Verde started in 1989, more or less”, recalled to Lusa Mané Trovoada, as he is popularly known, in a story with many chapters, where he continues to leave his mark on basketball in the archipelago, the last feat being the unprecedented qualifying for the World Championship of the modality, which takes place between August 25th and September 10th in Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Mané is an Angolan who is often confused with Cape Verdean, his connection to the country is long, where he built a family with a Cape Verdean woman, and of the two daughters, the first was born in Portugal and the second in Angola, but all live and study in Cape Verde.
“There's this union, there's always been this connection of feeling like a Cape Verdean too. I feel right at home, I am very cherished. People recognize the work and effort that we've been putting in and there's this passion and friendship,” he noted.
Gratitude is another word he uses to describe his connection to Cape Verde, where he has had opportunities, created lifelong friendships and is treated with great affection.
“That's what makes me wake up every day, even with the difficulties, but fight to be able to help this and other generations, other colleagues, open doors so that others can be and that tomorrow, Emanuel Trovoada not being here, but that let another son of the earth be here,” he said.
The connection with the country began in Lisbon, through Cape Verdeans who studied in the Portuguese capital, and who every Saturday had a game of basketball as a pastime.
“Mozambicans, Angolans, Santomeans, those African people. And from there came this great friendship”, recalled Mané, who was later invited to coach a female student team.
“I started coaching this women's team and then came this passion and this approach”, continued to contextualize the 55-year-old coach, who collected victories with the student teams.
“We took this generation, both male and female, a large group of girls who were there, we held several tournaments and championships, in which we participated with this connection to Cape Verde”, he continued, in a growing approximation.
And in 1999 he was invited to be assistant to the then national coach, the Senegalese Claude Constantine (1959-2019), considered the great booster of basketball in the country, in Afrobasket, precisely in Angola, but during the competition Constantine had a health problem and Mané had to manage the team for the remainder of the tournament.
After that, there was another invitation in 2022 to go to the country to help in the development of basketball, having picked up the selection the following year, until Afrobasket 2007, again in Angola, having reached third place, which entitled participation in the pre- Olympic.
“It was a generation that gave a lot, a mixture of the oldest and the youngest”, he described, before another training session for the team, in Praia, on their way to the World Cup, the highest point so far in Cape Verdean basketball, counting again with your seal.
However, he mentioned that another important moment for Cape Verdean basketball was the victory at Mundialito de Praia in 2005, fruit of the seeds sown by the “master” Claude Constantine.
“Right now we are already seeing a third and a fourth generation. A third who was brilliant in fourth place and qualifying for the World Championship, but there are also young people here for a fourth generation, for us to continue the work ”, he envisioned.
Being part of all these glorious pages in the history of Cape Verdean basketball is for Mané an “enormous pride”, in a “difficult” job for the federation, players and coaching staff.
“We believed in that dream, we turned that dream into reality and we want much more”, claimed the coach, who will play in the group stage of the World Cup with Slovenia, Georgia and Venezuela, and wants to “surprise”, as he did in qualifying.
In Cape Verde, the 'coach' invests a lot in the training of coaches, referees, table stewards and players, in a work that has increased the number of mobility practitioners.
“We went from almost 2700 to 4000 practitioners with the same conditions, it is necessary to create more sports infrastructures, more pavilions and create conditions so that this youth can continue this work”, asked the coach, who is already with the team in Europe to one more internship before traveling to Japan.
If Claude Constantine is considered the “father” of basketball in the country, Trovoada shows humility and simply defines himself as the ‘coach Mané’, but also wants to leave his legacy.
"It's one more that came to add, our great reference is Mr. Claude, who was the pioneer, who did a fantastic job", evaluated Mané, who, in addition to the selection, has also been very close to the regional associations.
Several generations of Cape Verdean basketball players have passed through its hands, each with their own achievement, but it was this one that took the country to the world, which is why it is already considered the best, with players who play in Portugal, Spain, France or Angola. .
"It was not easy to demonstrate to the authorities, to the Cape Verdean people, that we were facing a great generation, but a great generation that can offer us a lot", he said, understanding that everyone will benefit from the country's first qualification for the world cup.
Despite all this strong connection with Cape Verde, Mané guaranteed that he is no longer linked to Angola, where he was for 12 years, having trained Desportivo da Huíla.
“I have a part of my mother's family there and a strong connection to the Coaches' Association itself, where I was also a member, and the friendship he has for other colleagues, coaches and friends, of which I have many there”.