Rwanda U-16 basketball teams (boys and girls) started residential training camp on Wednesday in preparation for the forthcoming FIBA Zone V Championships that will be held simultaneously from June 1-6 in Mombasa, Kenya.
The two national teams each comprising 15 players, are currently residing at Saint Francois D’assise in Gikondo as they conduct daily training sessions at Amahoro Indoor Stadium.
The boys’ team is under the guidance of national team head coach Moise Mutokambali, while the girls’ team is under Jacques Bahige, who also doubles as coach for league side Ubumwe.
The six-day biennial event will also serve as a qualifier for the 2017 FIBA Africa Under-16 Championships that will be held in Mauritius for boys and Mozambique for girls.
Rwanda is the defending champions in both categories, and according to Mutokambali, they are optimistic to successfully defend their titles and qualify for Afro-Basket.
“We’re planning to play three or four friendly games with local league sides, probably against 30-Plus and CSK to help get players into competition mood before we select the final 12 players on May 29. We shall travel to Mombasa on May 31,” said Mutokambali.
In 2015, Rwanda represented Zone V in both categories when they hosted the event in Kigali, which attracted only two teams (Rwanda and Ethiopia) in the men’s category. Rwanda defeated Ethiopia to qualify for Afro-Basket that took place in Bamako, Mali.
In the women category, no foreign team participated, which gave Rwanda automatic qualification to the continental showpiece that took place in Madagascar.
However, in both categories, Rwanda did not go beyond the group stage finishing ninth in both categories.
This year, four countries have confirmed participation in the boys’ category, they include; hosts Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda while the girl’s category has five countries namely; Egypt, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.