The Women’s Afrobasket Zone V qualifiers tournament kicks off today, July 12 at the Kigali Arena and will run through July 17. Regional qualifying tournaments across the continent are all happening this month, and a winner from each zone will automatically book a place for the finals in Cameroon. In Zone V, Rwanda will be rubbing shoulders with Kenya, South Sudan and Egypt, which are the only countries that are confirmed to participate. Times Sport looks at five Rwandan players to watch as the country competes in the showpiece. Bella Murekatete The 21-year-old US-based center is one of the key players in Rwanda’s national team. The youngster features for the Washington State Cougars, a team that represents Washington State University in women’s basketball, and she has been doing well there. According to information from the Cougars website, she started all the 24 games they played in the 2020/21 season, and had good statistics, where she led the team in blocks with 38, a mark that was also second-highest in the Pac-12 Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament. She also finished fourth in scoring for her team with an average of 8.5 points per game, and was second in rebounding at 6.7 boards per game. On the national team scene, Murekatete led Rwanda’s national team to a fourth-place finish at the U-18 Women’s Africa championships in 2018. The Afrobasket qualifiers will be her first call-up to the senior national team, but she seems to be already up to the task, considering the performance she has been putting up for her US-based team. Tierra Monay Henderson Henderson features for the Clubul Sportiv Phoenix Constanta, commonly known as Phoenix Constanta, a Romanian women’s basketball club based in Constanta. The 33-year-old point guard is not a new face in the national team. One of the memorable performances in national colours was in 2019 against Uganda in 2019 Afrobasket Women Zone 5 Qualifiers where she scored a game-high 28 points. If she can replicate even half of such scoring exploits, she will be a massive asset for Rwanda in the 2021 Afrobasket qualifiers Zone V. Whitney Houston She is yet another US-based player that will be playing for the national team in these qualifiers. Houston plays for Mamba Sports Academy, an institution that was started by the late Kobe Bryant. The Point-guard is quick and has flare on the ball. The 33-year-old’s experience and technical abilities may be of great help to Cheikh Sarr’s team in the Afrobasket qualifiers. Rosine Micomyiza Micomyiza is a point-guard plying her trade with The Hoops – who are the National Women’s League champions. Her basketball abilities are something that many people who have been following the game in the country should be aware of, since she has been a real force in local basketball. The 26-year old captained The Hoops as they won the Heroes Cup and finished second in the league, last season. She was named on the five-player Team of the Year at the end of the 2018/19 season, and claimed the MVP award for the 2019 Agaciro Basketball Tournament in women’s category. Another good weapon in the hands of Cheikh Sarr. Hope Butera Butera is also a US-based player. She is one of those that have previously featured for junior national teams, for example in 2016 where she was part of Rwanda’s U-18 women basketball team that finished fourth at the FIBA U-18 Women’s African Championships. Currently, the 20-year-old features for Florida International University Athletics women basketball. She plays as a center. With a massive height of 1.9 meters, she can provide a lot in defence as well as in getting points.