The junior national basketball team will leave for the United States on Sunday for a series of friendly games as they prepare for the FIBA Men’s Africa U-18 Championships, slated for August 25-4 September.
The tournament, was initially supposed to be held in July was shifted to August because of the Olympic Games taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil around that time.
“The decision was taken by FIBA Africa because of Olympic Games and other tournaments taking place around that time. They shifted the tournament to August and we have agreed with their decision,” the Rwanda Basketball Federation (FERWABA) president Desire Mugwiza said.
While in the US, the Junior Hoops will play friendly games against Cameroon and Mali, and the Colleges of Arizona, Phoenix and Tucson.
“We have planned for a ten days training camp in USA and will also play against some teams there, it is good that the team will have enough warm-up matches and we will have time to assess our level of playing,” Mutokambali told Times Sport.
The 35-year-old tactician added, “For us we want to play many matches which will raise the fitness levels of our players before taking part in such a competitive tournament.”
The Junior Hoops have been playing in the national basketball league so as to give the youngsters more experience and confidence. They are in eighth position with 21 points in the 10 league team championship.
At least 12 teams will take part in FIBA Men’s Africa U-18 Championships with the top two qualifying for the 2017 FIBA U19 Men’s World Championship that will take place for the first time in the Egyptian capital Cairo.
The championship is returning to Rwanda after six years. In 2010, Rwanda hosted the competition, claiming a sixth-place finish.
Meanwhile, the FIBA Afro Basketball Women’s Under 18 category will be staged in Egypt in July.