Hoops team to hold final preparations in Tunisia

THE national basketball team (men) will hold a week-long boot camp in Tunisia as part of final preparations for the upcoming African Basketball Championship.
Rwanda basketball team captain Aristide Mugabe will lead the team during the competition. Sam Ngendahimana
Rwanda basketball team captain Aristide Mugabe will lead the team during the competition. Sam Ngendahimana

THE national basketball team (men) will hold a week-long boot camp in Tunisia as part of final preparations for the upcoming African Basketball Championship.

The development was confirmed to Times Sport by the head coach Moise Mutokambali in an exclusive interview on Monday.

The 2017 Men’s Africa Basketball Championship (Afrobasket) is scheduled to take place from September 6-16 in Senegal and Tunisia. Senegal will host Group B and Group D games while Tunisia will be home to Group A and Group C games as well as all knockouts from quarter-finals.

Rwanda is making the fifth appearance at the continent’s biggest basketball competition since the 2007 and has been drawn in Group C alongside debutants Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and hosts Tunisia.

“The boys are all doing well, and the mood and confidence levels in camp are promising. We have had more time to prepare than in the previous years, we hope to also do better than the previous years,” Mutokambali told this paper on Monday.

“We are going to have further preparations and friendly matches in Tunisia before the tournament. It will greatly contribute to our readiness and will prepare us mentally for the competition,” he added.

The team will be leaving the country on August 27 for the residential camp in Tunisia. All the players in camp are working hard to make it to the final squad to represent the country in North Africa.

1503443663Hamza-Ruhezamihigo-is-the-only-foreign-based-player-in-camp-so-far
Hamza Ruhezamihigo is the only foreign-based player in camp so far. Courtesy

Also with the team is former skipper Hamza Ruhezamihigo whom head coach Mutokambali says is a good addition to the team in terms of maturity and experience.

Rwanda will compete at this event on a wild card after failing to seal automatic qualification following their loss to Uganda in the semi-finals of Zone V Championship that took place in Egypt in March.

Initially, the event was supposed to be hosted by Congo Brazzaville from August 19-30; however the country withdrew from hosting the event citing logistical issues and hence  FIBA Africa board gave the hosting rights to Angola, which also later pulled out from hosting the event.

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