The national basketball team (men) has set an ambitious target of reaching the quarter-finals of the upcoming FIBA African Basketball Championship (Afrobasket) slated for September 6-16 in Senegal and Tunisia.
Rwanda was given a wild card by FIBA Africa to compete at this year’s Afrobasket finals after failing to qualify from FIBA Africa Zone V Championship earlier this year in Egypt.
Should the Rwandan charge live to their set targets, it will be the first time for the senior national team to go past group stages in this prestigious competition.
To date, Rwanda’s best performance came at the 2009 edition in Libya when they finished in the 10th place.
Rwanda finished 11th at the 2013 Afrobasket finals in Ivory Coast while in 2015, it failed to qualify for the event.
The team left the country on Saturday morning to continue with preparations in Tunisia. The team will also play a number of friendly matches to step up preparations and adapt to the weather ahead of time.
In an exclusive interview with Times Sport before traveling, team head coach Moise Mutokambali said, “We are going to Tunisia to achieve what we have never achieved before. Our target is to reach quarter-finals.”
“Considering the group we have been drawn in, reaching knock-outs is not over-ambitious. We will give it our best shot and I believe in my players, together we can,” Mutokambali added.
Rwanda is in Group C alongside the hosts Tunisia who are also expected to be the toughest archrivals to Mutokambali’s men. The other two group opponents are Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. Rwanda will start the bid for Afrobasket glory taking on Guinea on September 6.
The 13-man squad representing the Rwanda in Tunisia is comprised of 8 locals and 5 foreign-based players.
Staff: head coach Moise Mutokambali, assistant coach Aimé Karim Nkusi, Martin Uwimana (physiotherapist), Emmanuel Muhayimana (doctor) and Christine Musanabaganwa (team manager).
Aristide Mugabe, Hamza Ruhezamihigo, Sedar Sagamba, Dieudonné Ndayisaba Ndizeye, Olivier Shyaka, Kami Kabange, Elie Kaje, Patrice Twagirayezu, Dan Manzi, Adonis Rwabigwi, Kenneth Wilson Gasana, Walter Nkurunziza and Steven Havugintwari.