Rwanda U-16 national basketball team has started early preparations ahead of this year’s FIFA-Africa Zone V Championships which will be held in July although the venue is yet to be decided.
Earlier this week, head coach Jacques Bahiga released a roster of 27 players composed mostly of secondary school students. The team started training over weekend at Amahoro indoor stadium.
Bahiga said, “We have started early because we have to select the best team, most of the players are new, so it is very important to have them together for long in order to get to know the strength of each and every one of them before selecting the final team.”
“We have a lot of new young girls and we need to work round to turn them into champions, so it’s better to start early so that we can make them ready for the competition. We also have to play some friendly games so that they can get accustomed to intense competitions,” he explained.
Last year Rwanda took part in the bi-annually tournament held in Antananoriva, Madagascar but failed to qualify from the preliminary round in Group B where the team finished 5th after losing all their games to: Mozambique (22–96), Tunisia (47–74), Angola (44-81) and Mali (23-111).
Mali won the title after defeating Nigeria 57 – 46 in in the final.
Ingrid Kanyambo, Vanessa Bella Isaro, Ange Umurangamirwa, Ange Nelly Irakoze, Raissa Kamikazi, Michelle Ashimwe, Casimir Uwihirwe, Faustine Umwizerwa, Patience Butera, Christa Rubenga, Usher Umutoni, Faith Butera, Izadufasha Imanishimwe, Anifa Bykusenga, Josiane Ineza, Ruth Umutoni, Benitha Uwintije, Jeanne Tuyisenge, Ursule Irebe, Davine, Umurerwa, Adeline Cyiza, Deborah Ryimanivuze, Mugisha Uwera, Stella Ineza, Charlene Usanase, Hope Butera, Philomene Mukantwari.