Rwanda national rugby team, the Silverbacks have started training in preparation for the Africa Rugby Division 2 Cup Central scheduled to run from May 15 to 21 at the Amahoro National Stadium.
A provisional squad of 35 players kicked off training on Friday at Utexrwa ground in Gacuriro, as the Rwanda Rugby Federation (RFF) prepares to host the event three times, with the last being in 2014. The other times were in 2011 and 2013. Silverbacks won the title on all three occasions.
The 35 players will be trimmed to 25 to make the final team that will take on the usual opponents in the Division 2 C tier, DR Congo and Burundi and for the first time ever, Lesotho. Last year, DRC hosted the tournament and went on to win it after beating Rwanda 29-0 in the final on June 30.
The squad was selected from all clubs across the league. "We had to give a chance to all the best players in the league, you can't ignore all players from, for instance, Resilience, who have won all their games in the league so far this season," said the Silverbacks coach Jean Baptiste Itanzi.
Itanzi noted that two weeks of training will be enough to pick out the best players."Some play well for their clubs because they are used to each other, but here everyone has to prove themselves."
The stakes are high with Rwanda having to prove they are worthy members after being allowed membership into World Rugby, the game’s international ruling body.
Silverbacks provisional squad
Makombe Benjamin (Remera Buffaloes), Sibomana Chritian (Thousand Hills RFC), Ngizwenayo Barnabas (Kigali Sharks RFC), Kamanzi Didier (Thousand Hills RFC) Biseruka Jean Damasene (Kigali Sharks RFC) , Dushimimana Emmanuel(Kigali Sharks RFC), Mudaherawa Claude (UR Grizzlies RFC)Makwale Joel (Rusizi Resilience RFC), Rukundakuvuga Martin (UR Grizzlies RFC)
Niyoneza Gerard (Remera Buffaloes RFC), Nemeye Emmanuel (Kigali Sharks RFC), Kazungu Patrick ( Kigali Sharks), Mujuza Julius (Remera Buffaloes RFC), Twizeyimana Jean Leonard (Lion de Fer RFC) Yvan Muhire ( Thousand Hills RFC) , Nshimiyimana Daniel (Lion de fer RFC), Erick Habimana(Muhanga RFC), Gatera Issa (Kigali Sharks RFC)
Mugisha Michel (Thousand Hills RFC),Ikorukwishaka Patrick (Remera Buffaloes RFC), Gasore Sharif (Kigali Sharks RFC), Iradukunda Ombeni (Remera Buffaloes RFC), Marcel Cambara Koko (Lion de Fer RFC), Umuhire Victorien (Lions de fer RFC),Ufitimfura Donatien (Rusizi Resilience RFC)
Sauveur Muhire (Lion de Fer RFC), Bahati Blaise (Rusizi Resilience RFC) ,Peter Niyoyita (Remera Buffaloes RFC) , Diego Dusenge (Thousand Hills RFC) , Ndahirwa Aime (Remera Buffaloes RFC) Hatangimana Emmanuel (Puma RFC) , Jean Paul Hajali (Remera Buffaloes RFC)Jean de Dieu Hakizimana (Kigali Sharks RFC) , Vincent Kamali (Remera Buffaloes RFC), Sixbert Maendeleo (Lions de fer RFC)