The National U-18 men’s basketball team head coach Moise Mutokambali has appealed to Rwandans to show strong support to his boys during the upcoming 2016 Fiba Under-18 African championship.
This year’s edition of the biannual junior African Men’s Basketball Championship (U-18 Afrobasket) is slated for July 22-31 at Amahoro indoor stadium, Kigali.
In residential camp at Green Hills Academy since June 21, the team are optimistic they will put up a strong fight and have set themselves a target of reaching at least semi-finals in the 12-team tournament.
And Mutokambali is confident the target is achievable. “We have had good preparations and it’s now time to put in action what we have been doing in training this whole time. I’m confident in my boys, they are fired up and ready to fly their country’s flag high”.
He told Times Sport: “I know people of Kigali love basketball, we need their support now than ever. The players are young and are all making their debut on the international scene, the more support they get, the more chances of going as far as possible in the competition.” he added.
Hosting the 10-day long continental showpiece for the first time in six years, Rwanda will be looking to make one or two steps better than in 2010 when they finished in 6th.
Finalists of the tournament will represent Africa at the 2017 Fiba U19 World Cup to be held in Egypt.
While in camp, Mutokambali’s youthful side has played five friendly games, winning four and losing one. The team also had a brief camp in the United States and played a few games there but didn’t win any.
Among giants of the continent expected in Kigali, include reigning champions Egypt, 2014 finalists Mali, giants Algeria and Tunisia, as well as traditional powerhouse Angola.