Fifth place playoff
Espoir 69-47 UCU
Following their unconvincing performance at this year’s FIBA-Africa Club Championships that ended yesterday at the National Stadium in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, Espoir head coach Aime Kharim Nkusi has said that his side will take positive lessons from the tournament.
The 2012 regional champions failed to progress from their group B after finishing third with six points in four games behind Uganda’s City Oilers (eight points) and Kenya’s Ulinzi (seven points). By press time, City Oilers and Ulinzi were due to play in the final.
“It’s disappointing not to advance from the group, but we have to take positive lessons and try to rectify the mistakes that we made,” Nkusi told Saturday Sport.
He added, “One thing we have learnt from this tournament is that our physical fitness is lacking compared to other teams, our game is based on the players’ skills unlike other teams that play a more physical game.”
“We also had many new and young players that were playing their first major competition, which proved to be very difficult for them due to lack of experience, but I am optimistic that after this exposure, they will become better players,” he explained.
Espoir finished fifth after defeating Uganda Christian University 69-47 in the fifth and sixth place playoff.
In a separate interview, Espoir captain Olivier Shyaka, admitted that, “We are really disappointed to have finished fifth when we had reached the semi-finals last year and won the title in 2012. It shows a decline on our part.”
“Also we didn’t have enough preparations compared to other teams, every team here looked very prepared but for us we trained for only three weeks before the tournament,” he added.
Rwanda’s other representative in the men’s category; Patriots were due to face USIU in the third place playoff later on Friday.
Patriots suffered a heartbreaking 64-62 defeat at the hands of Kenya’s Ulinzi Warriors in the semi-finals on Thursday evening hence ending their hopes to qualify for FIBA-Africa Club Championships.
Meanwhile, in the women category, Ubumwe Basketball Club overcame Uganda Christian University Canons 88-85 on Thursday in their last game to boost their chances of qualifying for this year’s FIBA-Africa Club Championships that will be held in Maputo, Mozambique in December.
The one-week long tournament attracted a total of 17 clubs; 10 men and seven women from Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan and hosts Tanzania.