Basketball WCup qualifiers: Rwanda face uphill task against Senegal in opener

Serbain Vladimir Bosnjak gives instructions to his national basketball team players during a past warm-up match against Rwanda Enegry Group at Amahoro Stadium. Sam Ngendahimana


Rwanda Vs Senegal 19:30

Rwanda men’s senior national team will have a mountain to climb when they face Senegal in their first game of the sixth and final window of the ongoing qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup scheduled for August 31– September 15, in China.

The game gets underway at 7:30pm local time in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

New team captain Olivier Shyaka has vowed that it is a must-win game for his side despite the high caliber of their opponents who are five-time African champions.

Senegal also finished as bronze medalists at the 2017 FIBA Africa Basketball Championship, which was hosted and won by Tunisia after edging Nigeria in the final.

“We have had good preparations, which included a couple of friendly matches, and every player on the team is determined to do his best for a victory. We know we are facing a strong opponent, we will have to be at the top of our game,” REG power forward Shyaka told Times Sport in a telephone interview from Ivory Coast on Thursday.

After Friday’s clash against Senegal, Vladimir Bosnjak’s men will take on hosts Ivory Coast next on Saturday before wrapping their campaign with Central African Republic on Sunday.

Following the fifth window of the qualifiers, 17 teams – including Africa’s Tunisia, Angola and Nigeria – have so far booked their tickets to join hosts China at the first-ever 32-team edition of the world’s biggest basketball tournament. Fourteen spots are still up for grabs.

Other already qualified teams include; New Zealand, South Korea, Argentina, USA, Venezuela, Canada, Australia, Spain, Turkey, Lithuania, France, Czech Republic, Greece and Germany.