After winning the local edition of this year’s Genocide Memorial basketball tournament, Espoir have set their sights on adding the regional edition, which is scheduled for this weekend, according to head coach Maxime Mwiseneza.
On Sunday, the former FIBA Africa Zone V champions stunned favourites Rwanda Energy Group (REG) 61-58, at Rafiki courts in Nyamirambo to successfully defend their title.
Tournament organizers, Espoir, were underdogs in the two-week long tournament after being drawn in a tough group that comprised REG, who currently lead the league table, and the reigning Heroes’ Day tournament champions, IPRC-Kigali.
However, Mwiseneza’s side did what many did not expect by going all the way to the final and clinching this title after not only defeating REG in the final but also knocking out reining league champions Patriots 87-75 in the semi-final.
Mwiseneza hailed his team’s fighting spirit, which saw them winning the local tournament. Now the attention turns to the regional edition as they seek to end the season with a double, especially that the league title looks very unlikely.
“I think we deserve to win this tournament because we prepared so well and hopefully we can take this form into the regional event. These tournaments are important to us as Espoir family because we lost our members,” said Mwiseneza.
The regional event, which is also meant to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, is scheduled for June 9-11 – it is expected to attract teams from Uganda, DR Congo, Tanzania, Kenya and hosts Rwanda. Patriots are the reigning champions.