Espoir, REG face off for final spot in Heroes Cup

Patrick Ngwijuruvugo gives instructions to his REG players during the final match of the preseason tournament in November last year at Amahoro Stadium. Sam Ngendahimana.


Group A

Espoir Vs REG 18:00

Group B

Patriots Vs APR 20:00

Espoir Basketball Club will be looking for their first victory over Rwanda Energy Group (REG) since January 2018 when the two sides go head-to-head in Group A of the 2019 National Heroes Day tournament on Thursday.

The game will get underway at 6pm, at Amahoro Stadium.

Giants REG have won their last four meetings against Maxime Mwiseneza’s Espoir, a team that was once one of the best in region, from 2011 to 2015.

The winner between Espoir and REG will automatically book a slot in Friday’s final of the annual tournament, organised in tribute of the country’s heroes.

Ahead of their highly anticipated clash, REG and Espoir jointly top Group A with 2 points apiece, having both defeated 30-Plus over the weekend.

Patrick Ngwijuruvugo’s REG hammered 30-Plus in a resounding 143-36 victory last Saturday before the latter endured another humiliating defeat, 119-44, to Espoir the following day.

According to head coach Mwiseneza, Espoir’s target this year is to make two steps better than last year’s performance where they finished in third position – and his players are fit for it.

“We are ready to battle for a final berth against the holders (REG) on Thursday, and we will fight with all we got to achieve it. Our target is to win the title,” he said.

During the 2018 edition, the Nyamirambo-based side beat IPRC-South 78-71 to take the third place, behind winners REG and finalists Patriots.

Patriots keen on win over APR

In the meantime, last year’s finalists Patriots also take on former winners APR on Thursday night in a much-awaited Group B clash that will determine which side will meet either REG or Espoir in the final.

In their first group game, Patriots won 100-82 over United Generation for Basketball (UGB) on Saturday, a day before APR overcame UGB in a hard-earned 79-73 victory.

Holders REG beat Patriots 54-51 to lift the title in men’s category last year, while IPRC-South edged APR 79-77 to win the title in women’s fray.