Espoir Basketball Club are optimistic of winning the forthcoming FIBA-Africa Zone V Club Championship scheduled for October 1-7 in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.
Rwanda will be represented by three teams, including Espoir and Patriots in the men’s category as well as Ubumwe BBC in the women’s fray at the week-long tournament. Initially, it was supposed to be four teams but the national women’s league reigning champions APR opted out.
The Nyamirambo-based Espoir that won the regional championship in 2012, are undergoing intensive daily preparations at Club Rafiki courts under the guidance of newly appointed head coach Aime Kharim Nkusi.
“Preparations are going on pretty well; the players are determined to perform well and possibly win the tournament. We have a good blend of experienced youth and I really hope we can go to Dar es Salaam and return home victorious,” Nkusi told Times Sport on Wednesday.
Asked about which team he feels would cause the biggest obstacle to Espoir’s title aspirations, the former Rwanda international replied, “Every team will be in Dar es Salaam to win the tournament, but I think Uganda’s City Oilers as well as Kenya’s Ulinzi and KPA should be the biggest threat.”
The four-time regular season league and playoffs champions have boosted the squad with five players namely; Bruno Nyamwasa and Dieudone Ndizeye (both from IPRC- Kigali), Congolese forward Benjamin Bokofi, Point-Guard Parfait Ishimwe from APR and youngster Wilson Nshobozwabyosenumukiza as they seek for a second FIBA-Africa Zone V Championship title.
Espoir, who finished third at last year’s edition staged in Kigali, will leave the country for Dar es Salaam on September 28. Gezira (Egypt) and Berco Stars (Burundi) are the reigning champions in men and women categories respectively.