The local basketball fraternity will convene at revamped Lycee de Kigali Gymnasium which is set for inauguration on Friday. The 1500-seat facility was constructed through a partnership between NBA Africa and Rwanda’s basketball governing body (FERWABA), and has been under construction since October 2022. Lycee de Kigali is a significant school associated with Rwandan basketball. It has been lauded for producing some great talents that have gone on to have a significant contribution to the national team performance on the international scene. The Nyarugenge-based school is the alma-mater for the likes of Emile Kazeneza (currently plays in USA), Bruno Nyamwasa (Patriots), Emmanuel Iyakaremye (formerly played for Espoir and APR), Sifa Joyeuse Ineza and Hope Butera (both play college basketball in the USA), among other players. People who follow the game of basketball in the country are convinced that having such a gymnasium is important for the development of the game not only at the school but the country at large. According to Jimmy Gihana, the Head of Sports Lycee de Kigali, the gymnasium will ensure that students train on a court that meets international standards which he believes will assist them in adapting easily to the game once admitted to study in foreign colleges in the United States, for instance, where the school has sent some players in the past few years. It will be easier for them to play in the USA, if they get opportunities to go there for sports scholarships,” he noted. Weekend Sport The gymnasium will be hosting some games of the local league, and with this, Gihana is positive that watching from the stands a host of star players dribbling the ball at the court will inspire students aspiring to play the game to put more efforts to walk in their footsteps. “They are going to have the opportunity to see their elders playing in the league. It will be a motivation for them,” he said. students also welcomed the gymnasium as a new basketball hub where talents will be made. Edson Ntarindwa is a Senior Six student who plays as a center for Lycee de Kigali basketball team. He reckons that the court will improve the level of basketball for the school. By playing on such a facility, it gives him more chances to improve his game and become a national team player in the future, or even go further. “I want to reach as far, even in the NBA,” he said. LDK Women club shooting guard Victoire Gasherebuka, also a senior six student, said such a development will play a role in encouraging girls to increase their interest in the basketball game. “We have fewer girls playing basketball here, compared to boys. Girls will be encouraged to love the game more when the league teams come to play here,” she said. Just a day after the inauguration, the venue will start hosting basketball league games, with APR and Patriots set to rub shoulders inside the gymnasium when the league resumes on Saturday. Bruno Nyamwasa, an alumnus of Lycee de Kigali will be returning home with current club Patriots ahead of the crunch game. While he convinced that LDK has been doing a tremendous job to produce great players, Nyamwasa told Weekend Sport that the school can now do more magic with the gymnasium “I think this is one of the best basketball facilities in Rwanda. It is good that it is being hosted here at Lycee de Kigali, a school that has brought up many top players,” he said. In a country where basketball is growing fast, I can witness that basketball is a job because you can play, get scholarships, and even make money. It is not just playing for fun.” “These young players will really improve their game on this facility to the international level, because such facilities are rare in Africa,” he noted. Sports Minister Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju, Minister of Education, Valentine Uwamariya, FERWABA President, Desire Mugwiza, NBA Africa CEO, Victor Williams and NBA Africa Senior Vice President and Head of Strategy and Operations, George Land, are among guests that will grace the inauguration Ceremony of Lycee de Kigali Gymnasium. Ferwaba Executive Director, Landry Jabo, admits that the Gymnasium may not be going to solve all existing basketball infrastructure problems but, at least, he said, it is a good start. “This Gymnasium will help us in the rainy season and at night, because it is both covered and with lights,” he said. “We also plan to bring more infrastructure in the future but we are still in talks with partners. Our wish is that we can build a facility outside of Kigali,” he added.