Bosnjak buoyant despite modest preparations for World Cup qualifiers

The Serbian coach Vladimir Bosnjak gives instructions to the players during the training session at Amahoro Stadium yesterday (Sam Ngendahimana)

THE national basketball team head coach, Vladimir Bosnjak, has rallied his team to impress at the forthcoming second round of 2019 FIBA World Cup African Qualifiers despite humble preparations they have had.

The Serbian tactician made the remarks on Saturday in an exclusive interview with Times Sport at Amahoro indoor stadium.

Rwanda’s Group F first leg fixtures are scheduled for September 14-16 at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Lagos, Nigeria. The competition will attract six teams that advanced to the second round of qualifiers that took place in July and these include include hosts Nigeria, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Senegal and Rwanda.

“We started daily  training sessions on August 28 and basically we didn’t have any friendly game yet and the foreign based players started to come, so we have been with them less than a week and that has given us some complications to get them in shape,” said Bosnjak

Bosnjak will miss the services of Darius Garret who could not get permission from his club to join his compatriots for the continental showpiece. However, Bosnjak believes the rest of the team can still put on a good fight.

“When you have strong opponents like Senegal, Central African Republic and Cote d’Ivoire, you would love to win at least one game, of course it’s not going to be easy with the absence of Garret and all those teams are ahead of us on FIBA rankings but we made our first step beating Uganda to qualify and now we have to continue, we have to have consistency and that’s our target,” he added

The first game for Vladmir Bosjnak’s side is slated for September 14, against Senegal, before they could face Cote d’Ivoire the following day and then Central African Republic on September 16.

All first round results will be carried forward to the second round and teams from the same group in the first round will not meet again, meaning that Rwanda will only play teams that came from Group D namely; Senegal, Central African Republic and Cote d’Ivoire.

As per the first round results, Nigeria lead Group F with 12 points followed by Senegal with 11 points, while Central African Republic and Rwanda complete top four with nine points each.

Cote d’Ivoire and Mali are fifth and sixth respectively, with eight points apiece.

The team is scheduled to depart for Lagos next week between Monday or Tuesday and the final roster will be announced a day before leaving.

The inaugural 32-team edition of FIBA’s flagship competition will take place from August 31-September 15, 2019 in China.