The Under-18 national basketball teams in both men and women categories will jet off to Tanzania’s coastal city of Dar es Salaam to participate in this year’s FIBA Africa Zone V Championship – scheduled to run from June 17 through June 22.
The teams will fly out today 3pm aboard the national carrier, RwandAir.
The week-long tournament will have a total 18 national teams (boys and girls) competing in the 5-on-5 competitions and 3x3 basketball, which is a form of game played three a side on one hoop. It is the largest urban team sport in the world.
In the boys’ 5x5 category, five countries have confirmed participation. Besides hosts Tanzania, others are Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda.
Only Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda have confirmed they will also field female teams.
In the 3x3 boys’ category, six countries; Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda have confirmed participation, while four of them will also compete in the girls’ category; Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
“We have had time to prepare comprehensively and I am strongly convinced that the team is in good shape ahead of the competition. We are targeting both titles and we are aware of the challenge we are likely to face with our opponents,” the boys’ team head coach Yves Murenzi told Times Sport in an exclusive telephone interview on Thursday.
On the other hand, the girls’ team on Wednesday stunned league champions APR, 95-92, in their final warm up game. Youngster Hope Butera posted a game high 21 points.
“The team is ready; the win against such a big team as APR clearly shows how prepared we are for the regional tournament. However, we are going to keep our expectations low and take one game at a time,” said Charles Mushumba, head coach for the girls’ team.
Only the winners in each category will qualify for the 2018 FIBA African Under-18 Championships finals.
The continental finals in boys category will be hosted in Malian capital, Bamako, on August 17-26, while Mozambique will play host to the girls’ tournament from July 29 to August 5.