Rwanda Energy Group (REG) head coach Cyrille Kalima is targeting successful defence of their national basketball regular season league title when the 2017/18 campaign gets underway on Friday.
Kalima replaced Jean Bahufite after he led the one-year old REG to the league title last season. Kalima started by winning the pre-season tournament after defeating IPRC-Kigali 76-71 in the final on Sunday.
IPRC-Kigali players Guibert Nijimbere, Bruno Nyamwasa and Jean Paul Ndoli scored in double figures dropping 19 points, 15 points and 14 points, respectively, but it was not enough to hand their team victory, while Bienvenu Ngandu was REG’s top scorer with 13 Points.
IPRC-Kigali started strongly, winning the first quarter 20-16 but REG, led by Kaje Elie and Ngandu, recovered to win the second quarter 23-17 but lost out the third quarter 22-13 before winning the fourth quarter 24-12.
“We’re happy to win the tournament, it’s just pre-season but we couldn’t ask for a better way to begin the season – winning this tournament will boost our belief and confidence heading into the new season,” Kalima told Times Sport after the game.
He added that, “We will be expecting the same performance when the season starts. We already had a good squad that won the league last season and we have added some experienced players for next season as we seek to successfully defend our title.”
“The coming season is going to be tough and long but we must be ready to fight from the first day to the end,” noted the former APR basketball club player.
In preparation for the start of the new season, REG have boosted their team with new signings that include; Herve Icyishatse (shooting guard) from IPRC-South, Kaje Elie (centre) and Nkurunziza Junior Walter (shooting guard) from Patriots as well as Jean Jacques Nshobozwabyosenumukiza (point guard) from Espoir.
The club has also released some players, among them; Aboubacar Barame, Déo Nkurikiyinka, Bunene Kajeguhakwa, Olivier Muhizi, Jimmy Kibamba and Didier Abimana.