Despite failing to defend their world title, Rwanda’s Sitball national team head coach Elie Manirarora has hailed his players for putting up a spirited fight against the more experienced Germany in the final match played on Saturday at Amahoro indoor stadium.
The European favourites withstood the withering storm to beat defending champions and hosts, Rwanda 47-49 in nail-biting final to win the fourth edition of the tournament. It was Germany’s third world title, but for Manirarora, it was a good learning curve for his team.
“We played well and took the lead at crucial periods and in the last minute they recovered to beat us, but this is a good experience for our team and for all of us as a federation, we will continue to work hard and prepare the players for future international competitions,” he told Times Sport after Saturday’s final.
It was Rwanda’s second defeat against Germany in the tournament having lost 30-28 in the preliminary round game on Friday. This year’s final was a repeat of the 2008 and 2010 finals when Rwanda and Germany contested the title match. “One thing I’m certain about now is that everybody knows what a good team we are so we are very proud of that,” he noted.
The veteran setter and former NPC chairman Dominic Bizimana said, “We did our best, the players have done well in these two games and I am proud of how they played against the best team in the world.”
In the battle for third position, Switzerland beat Uganda 38-32 in an entertaining match, which, just like the final, needed double extra time to decide the winner. Other countries that took part in the tournament include; Burundi, Kenya and DR Congo.