Rwanda U-16 basketball boys’ national team coach Moise Mutokambali has called for early and thorough preparations ahead of the 2017 FIBA Africa Under-16 Championships scheduled for July 13-22 in Vacoas-Phoenix, Mauritius.
Rwanda secured the ticket for the second time in a row after finishing unbeaten in four games at the just concluded Zone 5 tournament in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa that attracted Tanzania and hosts Kenya, with all teams playing each other twice.
Mutokambali’s side kicked off the five-day tournament with a comfortable 73-48 win over the hosts Kenya last Friday before making light work of Tanzania 112-27, the next day.
Rwanda saw off Kenya again 77-51 in their third game on Sunday before defeating Tanzania 72-33 on Monday thus finishing the tournament unbeaten as champions.
“The reality is that despite winning this competition, we had very few warm-up games and this tournament was a good learning experience but AfroBasket is bigger, it’s a continental competition, so we have to keep these players together, no time to rest,” Mutokambali told Times Sport.
Mutokambali, who also handles the senior national team, added that, “We have to look for friendly games with stronger teams, we need to test ourselves against quality opposition to get a feel of what to expect in Mauritius.”
Rwanda will play at the 12-team biennial competition that will serve as a qualifier for the FIBA U-17 Basketball World Cup 2018, which will be held in Argentina.
In 2015, Rwanda (boys and girls) competed at AfroBasket as the flag bearer of Zone V and finished in ninth place in both categories. However, the girls didn’t qualify this time round after finishing second behind champions Egypt, who will represent the zone.