Rwanda U-16 boys’ basketball team touched base in Vacoas-Phoenix, Mauritius on Wednesday ahead of this year’s fifth edition of FIBA Africa Under-16 Championships that gets underway today and will run until July 22.
The team of 12 players, led by head coach Moise Mutokambali and his assistant Aime Nkusi Karim, left the country on Tuesday night aboard RwandAir following a two-week residential training camp at Amahoro Indoor Stadium and Green Hills Academy.
Rwanda is representing Zone V at the biennial event for the second time in a row after successfully defending the Zone V FIBA U-16 Africa Championships last month in Mombasa, Kenya.
“We have travelled with a good team, and I think we are in a better shape compared to how we were during the Zone V. We’ve had time to rectify the mistakes during the friendly games that we played against DR Congo’s PJB,” Mutokambali told Times Sport on Tuesday.
He added: “The mood in camp is pretty high, we are very optimistic and our aim is to improve from our previous performance in 2015—this time we are targeting a top four finish.”
Mutokambali has drafted Canada-based 16-year old Steff Rukundo Mucyo and he believes the point guard’s influence will be vital during the 10-day event.
“He is a versatile player and he has proved it during the training the camp, I believe he will be influential during our campaign,” the coach noted.
The competition will also serve as a qualifier for the 2018 FIBA U-17 Basketball World Championships, which will be held in Argentina.
Meanwhile, the U16 girls’ team is also set to kick off their preparations on Friday after landing a wildcard to compete at the continental event to be held in Maputo Mozambique from August 4-12.
Rwanda had failed to seal automatic qualification in Zone V after finishing second behind Egypt.
In 2015, Rwanda (boys and girls) competed at AfroBasket as the flag bearer of Zone V and finished in ninth place in both categories.
U-16 boys’ team:
Gakuru Ndahiro, Jonathan Inkindi, Collin Mananga Kazungu, Bruce Mudenge Rutishisha, Brown Abuyassin Murengenzi, Adelin Ndashimye, Elias Ernest Ngoga (captain), Theogene Niyibizi, Thierry Nkundwa, Jonathan Yuhi Rutimirwa, Jean De Dieu Umuhoza, Olivier Shumbusho.