Basketball league leaders Rwanda Energy Group (REG) are confident they can retain this year’s Genocide Memorial Tournament (GMT) basketball tournament title.
While Rwanda National Olympic and Sports Committee (RNOSC) is yet to release the schedule for this year’s memorial tournaments, the basketball tourney will “absolutely” take place, said an official with local basketball governing body,
The tournament was started by Espoir basketball club as Gisembe Memorial Tournament named after one of their best players who was killed during the Genocide against the Tutsi.
The Rwanda Basketball Federation (FERWABA) took over management of the competition three years ago, with two segments – a local edition and a regional showpiece.
REG won last year’s regional segment after overcoming Espoir 81-69 in the final, a week after Espoir had stunned them 61-59 to win the local edition.
REG captain Ali Kazingufu Kubwimana has said that their target this year is to win both segments of the memorial tournament.
“This tournament is one of the competitions we take seriously and this time we want to win both the local and regional editions,” the point-guard said.
The Genocide Memorial Tournament – formerly Gisembe memorial tournament – was first held in 1996 with then organisers Espoir winning the first two editions.
APR basketball club has hitherto won it most times (10), followed by Nyamirambo-based Espoir who clinched it eight times.
Basketball is one of the sports heavily affected by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, having lost over 30 of its athletes, coaches and administrators during the tragedy.
One of the victims is Emmanuel Ntarugera, who was popularly known by his nickname Gisembe. He was born in 1961. Gisembe was married with three children.
Apart from being staged in the form of professional competitions in men and women’s categories, the basketball memorial tournament has includes a veterans tourney.
Members of the basketball fraternity killed in the genocide
Players: Emmanuel “Gisembe” Ntarugera, Mayina Aimable Rutagengwa, Emmanuel ‘Mbingisa’ Rubingisa, Auguste ‘Tutu’ Kabeho, Olivier ‘Toto’ Munyaneza, Theogene ‘Riyanga’ Mutijima, Jean Marie Vianney Murenzi, Nice Hitimana, Desire Mukotanyi, Felix Twagiramungu, Vedaste Mutarema, Jean Bosco Rutagengwa and Majoro Kamanzi
Others are include Raymond Munyawera, Yves Gatera, Florence Kadubiri, Esperance, Emma Gasengayire, Jean-Baptiste Mugabo, Rutabana, Emmanuel Cyigenza, Christian, Esdras Nshimayezu, Siboyintore and Tharcisse Nzamwita
Coaches: Damien Nyirinkwaya (Espoir BBC)
Administrators: Raymond Kabayiza (Vice President/Espoir), Gustave Rugamba (Treasurer/Espoir BBC), and Pierre Rutare (President / Inkuba BBC)