Espoir BBC players rallied for ‘must-win’ clash against APR

Espoir skipper Emile Galois Kazeneza, 19, flies high for a spectacular dunk during a preseason tournament’s game against APR at Amahoro Stadium last month, which ended 75-69 in favor of Espoir. Sam Ngendahimana.

Maxime Mwiseneza has urged his Espoir Basketball Club players to consider Friday’s clash against rivals APR as a must-win as they chase for their first league title in four years.

The game will start at 6pm, at Amahoro Indoor Stadium.

The Nyamirambo-based side, who won the last of their four consecutive league titles in 2015, are in fourth position with 5 points after three games into the 2018/2019 Bank of Kigali National Basketball League, having won two games and suffered one defeat, respectively.

Espoir       will be looking to improve their win ratio to 3:1 with victory over Aime Karim Nkusi’s military side after beating IPRC-South 62-53 on match-day three last Saturday.

Prior to their win over IPRC-South, they had beaten United Generation Basketball (UGB) 93-60 in their season opener before falling short 74-61 at the hands of leaders Rwanda Energy Group (REG) on match-day 2.

Speaking to Times Sport on Wednesday, Mwiseneza appealed to his players to keep the same fighting spirit they displayed against IPRC-South when they take on former regional powerhouse APR, and “aim for nothing but victory.”

“We cannot afford to lose focus this early in the season, especially not against an opponent like APR. I have spoken with my players and, they are fit and determined to deliver,” said the former Rwanda international.

After the APR tie on Friday, Espoir will host struggling University of Rwanda on Saturday – same venue – looking for a weekend double to keep pressure on REG and defending champions Patriots who are first and second, respectively, on the table standings.

In another Friday night affair, hopefuls REG will be up against holders Patriots in what is regarded as the match of the season so far. Kick-off 8pm.