Rwanda will register a squad of 30 players for the upcoming African Karate Championships, the Rwanda Karate Federation (FERWAKA) president, Théogène Uwayo, confirmed on Thursday.
From August 28 to September 2, Rwanda will host the 17th African Seniors Karate Championships and the 9th African Juniors Karate Championships – the biggest karate event on the continent.
Up to 44 players have been training under the guidance of five local coaches.
Uwayo said that a final list of 30 players was arrived at depending on each individual’s capacity and the players are now going through the final drills and hoping for the best.
“Morale is high in the camp,” Uwayo said, noting that the players continue to train twice a day.
Twelve of the 30 players will be girls, including 17-year-old Jovia Umunezero, who grabbed the country’s first silver medal at an international event during last month’s 3rd African Youth Games in Algeria.
Egyptian expert, Mohamed Hashim Mohamed, is in the country since July 12 to assist with the national team’s preparations in camp at La Palisse Hotel Nyandungu.
The vastly experienced tactician is one of the assistant coaches of Egypt’s national team that has often proved to be a force to reckon with at African and World Karate Championships.
Despite Mohamed’s presence, Uwayo is frank about Rwanda’s chances.
“We don’t expect him to get us to be number one spot but to help Rwanda achieve a respectable ranking as the host nation,” he said
“Karate is about long term and correct practice. We should have had this coach with the team for at least a whole year if we had aimed at being among the top four.