Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) - Kigali are optimistic to put up their A Game in a bid to retain the Heroes Day Tournament title they won last year.
The 2018 edition of the annual mid-season tournament is scheduled to run from January 27 through to February 3 at Amahoro Indoor Stadium, Remera.
Although registration for the tournament is still ongoing, the local basketball governing body is hopeful all the national league sides will take part in the week-long competition and expect it to be more competitive and entertaining than the 2017 edition.
Albert Buhake’s IPRC- Kigali defied odds to clinch last year’s crown after overcoming favourites and former winners Espoir, 76-65, in the final held on February last year.
In an exclusive interview with Times Sport on Sunday after his side beat Rusizi in a league game, IPRC- Kigali’s head coach Buhake said they are turning attention to Heroes Day Tournament 2018 and the target is to reclaim the title.
“The target is to retain the Heroes Day Tournament; we can’t aim lower than that. It is going to be a very tough call with every opponent gunning at us as defending champions, but we are ready and determined to face anyone,” former national team’s assistant coach Buhake said.
“Heroes Day Tourney is the first title of the season, which makes it special for every participating team. Winning it will boost our confidence level for the league’s second round,” he added.
Reigning champions Ubumwe Basketball Club claimed the women’s title last year after humbling Eric Dusabimana’s The Hoops Rwanda, 67-37, in the final.
The men’s clubs expected to participate in the week-long tournament include; IPRC-Kigali, APR, Rwanda Energy Group (REG), Patriots, IPRC-South, Rusizi, Espoir and United Generation Basketball Club (UGB), while the women’s category will have; Ubumwe, APR, The Hoops and UR-Huye.