Patriots vs IPRC- Kigali 8:00PM
Integrated Polytechnic Regional Center (IPRC) - Kigali, is yet to win a game in the 2017/2018 national basketball league after two game rounds, their worst season’s start in 5 years.
The Kicukiro-based side opened the league count losing, 84-81, to military side APR on December 2 before suffering a second defeat in a shocking fashion (78-75) against lowly-rated United Generation Basketball (UGB) over the weekend at Amahoro Indoor Stadium.
What’s even more frustrating, IPRC- Kigali’s next league encounter will come against the 2016 champions Patriots, a determined side whose main mission is to dethrone holders Rwanda Energy Group (REG). The clash is scheduled for December 15 at Amahoro stadium.
In an exclusive interview with Times Sport on Sunday, Albert Buhake admitted his side is struggling to create a winning momentum in the new season, “It is really frustrating, everyone at the club, including myself, is not happy with results we are getting.”
“We are doing all we can to get back to our winning days, it’s being worked on from the top management of the club to the players. Also the confidence level in the team is still low, especially after losing some of our best players in the transfer window,” he added.
IPRC- Kigali lost a trio of key players to archrivals this November, namely; Steven Havugintwari and Dieudonné Ndizeye who were signed by Henry Mwinuke’s Patriots as well as Severin Shyaka who crossed to former champions, Espoir, another league giant yet to register a victory this season.
When asked if the clash against Patriots could be their turning point to glory days, the former national team’s assistant coach Buhake said, “It would be premature to confidently say we will beat Patriots, given the situation we are in right now. But one thing I am sure of is, we need that victory very badly and we will do all we can for it.”
Two years back under coach Jean Bahufite, Espoir was unbeaten for two regular seasons; IPRC- Kigali was the club that stopped their two-year unbeaten record in June 2015. If there is anything to go by, Buhake and his boys should draw motivation from that history to defy odds against pre-match favorites, Patriots.
The 2017/18 national basketball championship kicked-off on December 2 and will run through to June 2018. REG (men) and APR (women) are the reigning champions.