Espoir, APR square-off in hoops league

It will be a contest between former league champions as Espoir and APR lock horns in the national basketball league at Amahoro Indoor Stadium on Friday night.
Espoir and APR lock horns in the national basketball league at Amahoro Indoor Stadium on Friday night. / Sam Ngendahimana
Espoir and APR lock horns in the national basketball league at Amahoro Indoor Stadium on Friday night. / Sam Ngendahimana

Friday
UGB vs REG 7pm
Espoir vs APR 9pm

It will be a contest between former league champions as Espoir and APR lock horns in the national basketball league at Amahoro Indoor Stadium on Friday night.

Both teams have started the 2017/2018 season in slow motion, having won one and lost two of their first three games played so far.

Espoir and APR are the two most successful basketball clubs in the league with a combined 12 league titles between them, APR has won the league 7 times while Espoir have won 5.

APR have also won three FIBA Africa Zone 5 Championships in 2003, 2007 and 2010 while Nyamirambo-based Espoir has won it once in 2012, and remains the last Rwandan side to clinch the annual regional flagship tournament.

Patriots came very close this year, but lost to Uganda’s City Oilers 86-59 in the final in Kampala, Uganda.

Looking ahead to the game, Espoir head coach Maxime Mwiseneza said, “We have the youngest squad in 7 years, after we lost some of our key players to our rivals in the transfer market, including our captain Olivier Shyaka. It is a big void to cover, which is not easy.”

“But we have to be ready for Friday’s game against APR, the target is to win,” Mwiseneza told Times Sport on Thursday.

Espoir started the new season, losing their first two league games against IPRC-South and Patriots before bouncing back to overcome United Generation Basketball Club (UGB) last Friday. Should they win tonight, they will be improving their win ratio to 2:2 after four games.

That game will be preceded by the encounter between defending champions Rwanda Energy Group (REG) and UGB, which starts at 7pm.

Cyrille Kalima’s REG lead the table standings with a maximum 6 points from three games while IPRC-South and Patriots are second and third with 5 points apiece.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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