Rwanda’s national U-16 basketball sides (boys and girls) are looking forward to impress at the 2017 FIBA Africa Zone V Championships to be staged simultaneously fromJune 1-6 in Mombasa, Kenya.
The teams, comprised of 12 players each, will jet off to East African coastal town Wednesday evening aboard a RwandAir flight on the back of an intensive weeklong training in residential camp at Amahoro indoor stadium.
The boys’ team is under the tutelage of national team head coach Moise Mutokambali, while the girls’ team is under Jacques Bahige, the coach for league side Ubumwe.
In an interview with Times Sport after the final training session yesterday, Mutokambali lauded the team’s “great spirit and determination” which they exhibited since the start of a non-residential training camp in February.
He said there was optimism in camp the team would impress during the six-day event.
“The training was very excellent, we have been working on building a perfect game and had time to assess each player during the two friendly games against CSK, both of which we won; I have to say we are in a good position for the challenge ahead,” said Mutokambali.
“Our target is clear, it is to qualify for the FIBA AfroBasket, which we can achieve if we win the Zone V Championships,” he added.
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.
The Minister for Sports and Culture, Julienne Uwacu, on Sunday, visited the teams in their training camp at Amahoro Indoor Stadium and officially handed them the national flag.
The event was, among others, attended by the players’ parents.
“When you go out there, you don’t go as individuals but rather you’re representing the whole country, therefore you need to work as a team in order to achieve the set goals,” Uwacu told the players.
While handing the national flag to the two team captains, she added: “Rwanda is behind you.”
Rwanda are the defending champions in both categories.
This year, four countries confirmed participation in the boys’ category, namely; hosts Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, while the girls’ competition will attract Egypt, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.