Group D (Day 3)
Morocco 86-83 Cape Verde
Tunisia 74-57 Rwanda
Cape Verde 4pts
Senegal v Rwanda 7pm
Angola v Libya
Tunisia v Central African Republic
Egypt v Nigeria
Morocco v Cameroon
Mali v Ivory Coast
JUST when everyone thought that Rwanda had discovered a winning formula after their Day two victory over Cape Verde, the team crumbled to their worst defeat in the competition after a 57-74 defeat against Tunisia on Day three (Friday).
The North Africans, who started the campaign with a 52-71 defeat against Cape Verde finished top of Group D after back to back wins over Morocco (98-79) and Rwanda.
Rwanda, who headed into the game well aware that they had qualified to the next stage after Cape Verde’s 83-86 defeat against Morocco, failed to find the right focus.
Tunisia dominated the first three quarters; 19-15, 21-9, 26-12 to head into the final quarter with a healthy 30-point lead. At this point, it was not about who would win anymore but by what margin Tunisia would win.
Rwanda stepped up their game in the final quarter 21-8 but it came a little too late.
In the first three quarters, everything fell apart for Rwanda right from the free throws, shooting, reading the game and defensive play.
“We didn’t click today. There was no concentration and focus but we have to regroup fast because we have big games coming up,” Rwanda’s captain Hamza Ruhezamihigo conceded.
Rwanda finished third in Group D to set up a clash with Senegal, one of the tournament favourites. Senegal who edged Cameroon one of the three countries with a clean record at this year’s Afrobasket competition.
The others are defending champions Angola and Nigeria.
The game against Senegal will give Rwanda a glimpse of the tough times ahead.
Ten players in the Senegalese team ply their trade in the USA and Europe. Notable among them is Boniface N’Dong. The 32-year old has taken the competition by storm after averaging 20pts a game.
N’Dong, who recently signed a two year contract worth €3.2 million Euros net income with the Spanish League club FC Barcelona, is also a former player of Los Angeles Clippers.