REG start hoops title defence against APR


Olivier Shyaka (left), and Bienvenu Ngandu, who played together in Espoir before the latter joined REG last season. The Rwanda international teammates will team-up again at the league champions this season. Sam Ngendahimana.

Patriots Vs Espoir 6pm
REG Vs APR 8pm
IPRC-South Vs Rusizi 2pm
IPRC-Kigali Vs UGB 4pm

RWANDA national basketball league reigning champions, Rwanda Energy Group (REG), will start their title defence against APR Friday night at Amahoro Indoor Stadium. The game starts at 8pm.

While REG will be looking to get off to a winning start, former champions APR already have a victory under their belt after stunning IPRC-Kigali 64-59 last Saturday and will be seeking to make it two wins in a row.

REG have made a number of strong reinforcements to their squad for the 2017/2018 season.

The league title holders, who also won the pre-season tournament a fortnight ago, have signed some of the country’s finest basketball players such as Olivier Shyaka from Espoir as well as Chris Walter Nkurunziza and Elie Kaje from Patriots.

REG’s other new signings include youngster Wilson Nshobozwabyosenumukiza from Espoir and Herve Ikishatse from IPRC-South.

Last season, then under Jean Bahufite, REG won the league and the Genocide Memorial Tournament, but failed to complete the treble by losing (3-1) to rivals Patriots in the Play-off finals.

“Our target is to win all competitions we will take part in this season. We have a good team with individual and collective ambitions,” the newly appointed REG head coach Cyrille Kalima told Times Sport on Thursday.

Kalima added that the opening game against APR is a good test that will require my players to make calculated moves and be well balanced, defensively and offensively.

On the other hand, APR, were also quite busy during the off-season, appointing a new head coach Aime Karim Nkusi to replace longtime-serving Kenyan, Cliff Owuor, who had been the military club coach for the past 11 years.

Looking ahead to Friday night’s game against REG, former Rwanda international Nkusi said, “A win against a side as strong as REG would mean a lot regarding our title hopes, we are going to give it our best. My players are ready, physically and mentally.”

APR, who last won the league title in 2010, boasts of a number of new arrivals such as; Emmanuel Iyakaemye from Espoir, Jean Baptiste Kabayiza from IPRC-South, Alain Birimana from CSK, Bryan Mbanze from Espoir, Gedega Kajeguhakwa from REG and Jean de Dieu Ndahiro from Patriots.

The REG Vs APR game will be preceded by the game between the 2017 FIBA Africa Zone 5 finalists Patriots and the 2012 winners, Espoir, starting at 6pm.