Basketballers off to Angola


The national basketball team departed yesterday afternoon for Angola where it will engage in the 2007 African Cup of Nations that runs from August 15-26.


The 24-man contingent; 14 players and ten officials left Kigali International Airport at 5pm aboard an Ethiopian Airlines to Addis Ababa from where it will connect to Angola’s capital, Luanda.


According to the local basketball federation, the team is expected to be in Luanda by 6:15pm this evening.

Grouped in Pool A alongside hosts, reigning champions and pre-tournament favorites Angola, Morocco and Cape Verde, Rwanda open their CAN debut this Wednesday against Angola.


After an injury setback to Rwanda’s top shooting forward Valery Uwineza and personal problems to Raoul Mballa, the team has been boasted by Canada-based Hamza Ruhezamihigo who is reported to have jetted in the country on Saturday.


The exciting point guard has been winding up with his university enrollment in the USA where he is also expected to play semi-professional basketball with a Boston-based club.


Rwanda qualified for CAN after finishing second in the Zone V championships that were staged in Kigali back in February.


Apart from Angola (hosts) and Senegal, Nigeria, Algeria, Central African Republic, Morocco and Mali who have automatic qualification to the event, Tunisia, Cape Verde, Ivory cost, DRC, Egypt and South Africa qualified after topping their respective zones while Rwanda, Liberia and Cameroon qualified on a wild card (second best) in their respective zones.


The 11-day event will be staged in five Angola cities; Luanda, Huambo, Benguela, Cabinda and Lubango.

The event winner qualifies for 2008 Olympic Games to be held China.




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