EUROBASKET WOMEN QUALIFIERS
|Emma Meesseman, the 2011 FIBA Europe Young Women's Player of the Year, is the most prominent of the many up-and-coming players on the Belgium preliminary squad|
Belgium head coach Benny Mertens has called up an exciting mixture of youth and experience after naming a lengthy 24-player roster ahead of the EuroBasket Women 2013 Qualification Round next month.
While essentially this is a very youthful team, reflecting some of the success Belgium has had at youth level in the last few years, the real boost for Coach Mertens is that former EuroLeague Women champion and recent Polish Championship winner Anke De Mondt is back to provide some essential leadership to help a raft of up-and-coming youngsters to compete and make the transition.
Leading the way for the younger majority on the roster is 2011 FIBA Europe Young Women's Player Of The Year Emma Meesseman, who played well in the previous qualifying campaign despite her tender age.
Belgium fans are however probably thinking that their team is rather agonisingly only a handful of players away from a potentially perfect blend.
But unfortunately, the likes of veteran stars Ann Wauters and Kathy Wambe won't be suiting up and additionally, at the other end of the spectrum, neither will sixteen-year-old sensation Hind Ben Abdelkader.
She must finish her studies before continuing her rise to prominence, with many tipping her to attain a similar level of success to that of Meesseman.
Still, with a vibrant and youthful feel to the roster, there could be exciting times ahead although it will inevitably be difficult in a group containing Lithuania, Slovenia, the Netherlands and the Slovak Republic.
Before Belgium take to the floor in their first qualifying game at home to Slovenia on 13 June, they will focus on a number of intriguing friendly games against the likes of Israel, Ukraine and Germany as well as match-ups with Olympic hosts Great Britain and London 2012 hopefuls Canada.
The full roster is as follows: Julie Allemand (Point Chaud), Hatty Bende Belobi (Mondeville), Dana Boonen (Kangoeroes), Evelien Callens (VS Praha), Marjorie Capreaux (Solna Vikings), Miete Celus (Sint-Katelijne-Waver), Romina Ciappina (Priolo), Antonia Delaere (Kangoeroes), Anke De Mondt (Wisla Can-Pack), Sien Devliegher (Lotto Young Cats), Sofie Hendrickx (Kangoeroes), Sara Leemans (Sint-Katelijne-Waver), Lien Lentacker (Lotto Young Cats), Noémie Mayombo (Point Chaud), Emmanuella Mayombo (Point Chaud), Emma Meesseman (Lotto Young Cats), Inge Meylemans (Kangoeroes), Virginie Michiels (Spirou Monceau), Ann-Katrien Nauwelaers (Sint-Katelijne-Waver), Jana Raman (Waregem), Jasmina Rosseel (Lotto Young Cats), Anne-Sophie Strubbe (Kangoeroes), Julie Vanloo (Waregem), Laurence Van Malderen (Namur).