THE Rwanda Basketball Federation has summoned eight professional players to beef up the national senior team ahead of the Afrobasket 2013 Championships set for August 20-31, in Ivory Coast.
The men’s hoops head coach Moise Mutokambali told Times Sport yesterday that he will rely on young Rwandans with a mix of top quality professional players in bid to stage a promising Afro-basket championship.
“We have summoned eight professional players plying their trade in France, Thailand and US. I know Afro-basket final is not an easy championship but I have confidence in the selected team to make a positive impact which will see us improve on the overall rankings, atleast be able to finish inside the top ten,” added Mutokambali.
The national team resumed training mid this week and will start residential training on July 22.
Canada-based Hamza Ruhezamihigo returns into the fold after being snubbed for the regional championships this year.
New faces include; Dan Manzi and Adonisi Rwabigwi who both study and play for Tampa Christian College in Miami, US, and Patrick Twagirayezu who studies at Ashville Christian Academy in North Carolina, US.
Others are Kenneth Gasana [US], Bradley Cameron Curtis [US], Thierry Sukusuku [France] and Brannon Darrius [Thailand].
Local based are players from CSK, APR, KBC and champions Espoir Basketball Clubs.
Rwanda are drawn in Group C alongside defending champions Tunisia, Morocco and debutants Burkina Faso in the Continental tournament.
The hoops team qualified for the Afro-basketball championship after finishing runners-up to Egypt at the Zone V qualifiers in Tanzania in January.
Rwanda, the only East African nation to ever play in the competition, made a historic debut in 2007 in Angola where they finished 12th.
This year, they will be making a fourth consecutive appearance in the tournament and the team’s target will be to improve their performance.
In the last edition, staged in 2011 in Madagascar, Rwanda finished 12th while its opponents Morocco finished in sixth position as Tunisia beat Angola 67-57 to lift the title before representing Africa at the London Olympics.
Tunisia enhance preps
Defending champions and favourites Tunisia are set to play two international matches in Qatar after winning a bronze medal at the Mediterranean Games in Mersin.
The team which has been training at the Sports Palace of El Menzah in Tunis face five-time champions Qatari who are preparing for the Asian championship. Both matches will take place on July 12 and 13 in Doha.