Patriots vs 30-Plus 6pm
IPRC-South vs APR 6pm
IPRC-Kigali vs Espoir 8pm
Ubumwe vs IPRC-South 2pm
Men: Group B
IPRC-South vs Patriots 4pm
APR vs 30-Plus 6pm
REG vs Espoir 8pm
Reigning champions Espoir will begin their Gisembe memorial local tournament title defence against league rivals IPRC-Kigali in the opening game in Group A on Friday evening at Amahoro Indoor Stadium. The game starts at 8pm.
Espoir will be looking for revenge against Albert Buhake’s side that defeated them in the final to win the 2017 Heroes’ Day tournament.
The Kicukiro-based youthful side stunned Maxime Mwiseneza’s side 76-65 in February.
Four-time league champions Espoir face an uphill task as they bid to retain the Gisembe title without their captain and most valuable player, Olivier Shyaka, due to injury.
According to Buhake, who admits they have been drawn in a tough group, his team’s priority is to finish in the top four in the league to be able to play in the playoffs.
However, he insists that a positive campaign in Gisembe memorial local tournament would greatly boost their confidence, which they would take into the remaining four games in the regular season league.
“Our main focus is to finish in the top four, but we are also determined to put on a good fight in this particular tournament because winning it would motivate us to finish strongly in the league,” Buhake told Times Sport.
That game will be preceded by the clash in Group B between last year’s Patriots and 30-Plus at 6pm, while APR will lock horns with IPRC-South in Huye. Last year, Espoir defeated Patriots 69-56 to claim the title.
The annual event is organised by Espoir in partnership with Rwanda Basketball Federation (FERWABA) in memory of former players and coach Emmanuel Ntarugera Gisembe, who were killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.