DRC vs Uganda 11am
Angola vs Tunisia 1pm
Mali vs Ivory Coast 3pm
Gabon vs Rwanda 6pm
Benin vs Egypt 8pm
Algeria vs Zimbabwe (Postponed)
Host Rwanda will face Gabon, at 6pm, in their opening game of the FIBA U-18 Africa Championship that gets underway today and run through July 31 at Amahoro indoor stadium.
The draws for this year’s tournament were held on Thursday night at the newly opened Marriot Hotel in Kigali, and the host nation was drawn in Group A alongside Algeria, Mali, Ivory Coast, Gabon and Zimbabwe while Group B has defending champions Egypt, Tunisia, Benin, Angola, DRC and Uganda.
Algeria and Mali are slightly more experience and are expected to be the tough sides in pool A and it will be captivating to see whether the host can overcome Ivory Coast and Gabon, who which should not be overlooked.
Rwanda’s head coach Moise Mutokambali, speaking after the draws, said that his team is well prepared and the first target is to reach the quarter-finals.
“We have no problem in this group because all the teams have prepared just like us, our main objective is to reach the quarter-finals and we believe we shall reach that target. After that level, we can take every game as it comes,” he added.
Gabon head Coach Blaise Luamba Baleketa, who is making his second appearance in the tournament revealed that, “It is a pleasure to be in Rwanda once again, I was here in 2010 for the same tournament and we defeated Rwanda. It is not the first time to face them.”
When asked about his team’s qualification on the wild card ticket, Baleketa replied, “It true we came here on a wildcard ticket but we were supposed to be here and I believe my team will perform well, starting with the opening game against Rwanda, hopefully we will defeat them as we did in 2010.”
Meanwhile, reigning champions Egypt take on Benin in their Group B opener, at 8pm seeking to capture a fifth continental title.
As favorites, Egypt will face competition from Angola, Tunisia, Democratic Rep of Congo as well as debutants Uganda.
Uganda which qualified after defeating Kenya in the Zone V will face DRC in their opening game.2014 runner up Tunisia will face Angola, and one of the most exciting games will be between Mali, who finished third in 2014 taking on Ivory Coast.
The preliminary phase of the tournament will be played in a round robin format in both groups with the top four teams from each group advancing to the quarter-finals. The two finalists will secure tickets to represent Africa at the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championships in Cairo, Egypt.