Well-known for its grassroots basketball programme, ‘Giants of Africa’ inspired the Rwandan youth during a three-day trip to the country that wound up on Thursday.
VIDEO: Giants of Africa Training in Rwanda 2016. Source: YouTube/TheNewTimes
Under the leadership of General Manager, Masai Ujiri from Nigeria, who arrived in Kigali on Tuesday, the team held a mini-camp for orphaned and underprivileged children at Club Rafiki basketball court in Nyamirambo and another one at Amahoro Indoor Stadium on Thursday.
Over 50 youth players selected from different districts across the country, attended the mini-camp, the third of its kind in as many years.
On the first day of the trip, ‘Giants of Africa’ members engaged young kids, giving them words of wisdom and inspiration aimed at preparing the youngsters for a brighter future, on and off the basketball court.
Speaking to Times Sport on the sidelines of the mini-camp at Club Rafiki, Ujiri, who is no stranger to Rwandan basketball, said, “Rwanda has a lot of talent so we want to give young and upcoming players the basics of the game, both in theory and practice.”
“We are glad to be in Rwanda again because it is one of the exceptional African countries. We want to assist in developing basketball in Rwanda on top of improving the livelihood of the youth off the court,” Ujiri added.
The Rwanda Basketball Federation (FERWABA) technical director, Shema Maboko, explained that, “this is another huge and great opportunity for our youth players and coaches to learn from experienced coaches.”
He noted that the program is part of the federation’s grassroots development programme aimed at creating awareness about the sport in the country.
Growing up playing basketball in Africa, Masai Ujiri realized the abundance of talent in his homeland – but these players were often referred to as raw, lacking experience in the game and lacking access to coaching and facilities.
Ujiri drew upon these personal experiences and founded Giants of Africa in 2003 – a non-profit organization with the goal of changing this reality.