FIBA U18 Africa: Rwanda eye Senegal win to go top in Group B

Rwanda’s Landry Irumva tries to break through Algeria’s defence during the 81-63 victory last Friday. Courtesy.

Wednesday

Rwanda Vs Senegal 6:45pm

Following a nerve-wrecking defeat to defending champions Angola on Sunday, Rwanda’s U18 boys’ basketball team will be looking to overcome Senegal in their final Group B game today as they bid to finish the preliminary round in pole position.

Rwanda recorded two consecutive wins against Algeria and Tunisia on Friday and Saturday, respectively, last week before enduring a one-point gap defeat to giants Angola on Sunday.

Angola won 80-79, but the highlight of the game was Rwanda’s tenacity and determination to remind everyone that they can’t be taken lightly.

Skipper Elias Ngoga, one of the top performers in the tournament so far, hit three-pointers with 31 seconds left to cut the deficit to 79-74.

As Angola tried to widen their lead, point guard Pascal Konde turned the ball over.

Rwanda’s Emile Galois Kazeneza received an inbound pass to hit yet another three-pointer and leave the Angolans two points up 79-77 with 19 seconds left.

Eventually, the reigning champions prevailed 80-79.

“We made a number of mistakes that cost us, we misused a lot of free throws and unnecessarily lost a number of balls. However, we also took positives from the game and we are going to prepare well for the final game (against Senegal) so we can finish top of the group,” Rwanda head coach Yves Murenzi told Times Sport Tuesday in a telephone interview from Mali.

Senegal, on the other hand, had defeated Angola in their opening game, also by a one-point (77-76) difference before humbling Algeria 70-50. By press time, Tuesday, the game between Senegal and Tunisia was yet to get underway.

“Players are motivated and the level of confidence has gone up now, we believe there is no team here we are not able to beat.

We are taking game by game, the attention is on the Senegal game now,” Murenzi added.

Rwanda beat Algeria 81-63 last Friday before overcoming Tunisia 62-58 the following day.

The top four teams from each group will advance to the knock-out stages, starting with quarter-finals.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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