Rwanda Basketball Federation (FERWABA) president Desire Mugwiza believes that featuring U-16 teams in both the boys’ and girls’ categories at the upcoming FIBA Africa Zone V U-16 qualifying tournament this weekend will benefit the senior national team in three years time.
Rwanda is hosting this year’s event in Kigali but only Ethiopia will compete in the boys’ category while no other country will turn up in the girls’ category after all the other nine member countries confirmed that they will not take part in the tournament because they do not have U-16 teams.
“We are preparing the U-16 teams because it is these same players who will play in the FIBA Africa U-18 tournaments next year. We shall call up some 17 year olds for the U-18 tournament, and in the long run, they will play for the senior national team,” explained Mugwiza.
After this weekend’s event, the U-16 national team coaches will organize training sessions for these players in the holidays. Mugwiza said, “We are in the process of development. We want them to attain the basic basketball skills that will help them become better players.”
Should the Rwanda U-16 boys defeat Ethiopia this weekend, they will qualify for the FIBA Afrobasket U-16 tournament in July in Mali. Meanwhile, the Rwandan girls have already qualified for the FIBA Afrobasket U-16 girls’ tournament set for July 16-24 in Madagascar.