Basketball: REG start preps ahead of new league season

Henry Mwinuka won three league titles with Patriots between 2015 and 2019 before crossing over to rivals REG last November. File photo.

Rwanda Energy Group (REG) basketball club have begun preparations ahead of the upcoming BK Basketball National League season, which gets underway on January 17.

The red-and-black side will be looking to reclaim the championship after falling to bitter rivals Patriots in the last two seasons, finishing second in both league campaigns.

Now under the tutelage of Henry Mwinuka who guided Patriots to three league titles in four years, REG go into the 2019/2020 season with optimism after beating Patriots in their last two encounters to win the inaugural Agaciro Basketball Tournament and retain the title of the preseason tournament for a record third consecutive time.

In an interview with Times Sport on Wednesday, assistant coach Maxime Mwiseneza revealed that the team has set high ambitions for the upcoming season – top priority among others; to win the league title again.

“We started training on Monday, and the players have so far responded well after a short while in holidays. We want to win many trophies – particularly the league – next season, and that requires a lot of work in preparations,” said the former Espoir head coach.

He further added, “To win the championship, it requires mental strength and winning attitude, consistently. That is what we (coaching staff) are trying to make the players understand. It is definitely going to be a long season, and we must be ready for the challenge.”

Nonetheless, Mwiseneza noted, we are confident in our bid and in our players.

REG were red hot league title favourites last season after taking a 3-1 lead in the playoffs finals, but Patriots exhibited a never-die spirit in remarkable style as they fought back to retain the title 4-3 in the best-of-seven finals.

The Patriots went on to qualify for the inaugural Basketball Africa League (BAL) regular season with a clean record in two qualifier rounds, including the Group H qualifiers held at Kigali Arena last month.

REG won the 2016/2017 league title on their first attempt following the team’s formation mid-2016.

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