It has been almost two years since US-based Rwandan power forward Axel Mpoyo started playing in the Rwanda Basketball League (RBL). Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to a Rwandan mother and a Congolese father in 1997, he left the country at a young age along with his family to live in the USA where he started playing basketball. As his game took shape, he played for various teams in the USA including Meridian High School (Idaho State), the North Eastern Junior College as well as Grambling State University in Louisiana before signing for Apoel, a Cyprus-based club. Since 2021, the 25-year-old has been plying his trade in Rwanda for top clubs like APR and Rwanda Energy Group (REG), helping the latter win the 2021/2022 league, a feat that got him named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) 2022. In an interview with Times Sport, Mpoyo reflected on his time in Rwanda, describing the experience as one he has really enjoyed. “I’ve really enjoyed playing in Rwanda these past two years. It’s been a great learning experience as I have learned so much from my coaches and teammates but most importantly, I built bonds that will last a lifetime,” he said. Asked about what the 2021/2022 MVP award means to him as a player, he said it means a lot as it showed that hard work pays off, but noted that it was not something that he had set for himself as a personal goal. “Winning MVP was never my goal, I’m a team player and my goal is always to win. But It was an honor to receive MVP and it will just motivate me to work harder going forward,” he said. As the next season gets closer, Mpoyo has already returned to APR, and he says he hopes to help them win the championship as he also tries to be “a better version” of himself. At APR, he joins a very ambitious project that the team has embarked on as it tries to win the league and play at the BAL. Besides Mpoyo, APR signed talented guards Jean Jacques Wilson Nshobozwabyosenumukiza and Ntore Habimana as well as power forward Ellie Kaje.