National Volleyball Team Coach Elie Mutabazi has dropped six and retained 16 players as the team enters final preparations for the upcoming CAVB Africa Zone 5 Championships.
The regional showpiece, which will serve as qualifiers for the 2019 All-Africa Games, is scheduled for June 2-9 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Players that have been sent back home include Thierry Mugabo (Gisagara), Felix Niyomugabo (IPRC-Ngoma), Venuste Gatsinzi (APR) and Prince Kanamugire (APR). John Nkurunziza (UTB) and Nelson Murangwa (Gisagara) were not available for selection due to injuries.
“We assessed each player and the squad was named after several discussions with my technical team. We needed the best 16 players and believe they are the best we’ve picked,” said the former national team, UNR and APR setter.
He added: “The players that have not made the cut should not give up but work hard for future competitions, they need to stay focused and not lose hope.”
Mutabazi he will have to drop to more players before the end of the week. The team, who are in camp at Hilltop Hotel in Remera, train at Amahoro Indoor Stadium twice a day.
Zone V, the largest African Volleyball Confederation (CAVB) region, brings together 12 countries. They include Burundi, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Kenya. Others are Rwanda Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
Six countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, Egypt and Rwanda) have so far confirmed participation, with South Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Burundi and Somalia yet to confirm by press time.
Each zone will now have to go through qualification for the seven tickets up for grabs. Morocco have an automatic slot in the finals to be staged in Rabat in August.
Kenya are the defending champions for Zone Five, having beaten Rwanda in the final of the previous edition in Kigali two years ago.
Setters: Sylvestre Ndayisaba (REG) and Ivan Nsabimana Mahoro (UTB)
Left attackers:Christopher Mukunzi, (captain, REG) Yves Mutabazi (REG), Olivier Ntagengwa (REG), Patrick Akumuntu Kavalo (Gisagara), Willcriff Dusenge (Gisagara), and Fred Muvunyi (UTB).
Right attackers:Yakan Lawrence (Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler, Japan), and Samuel Niyogisubizo (UTB).
Liberos:Simon Rwigema (REG) and Emile Karera Dada (Gisagara).
Centre players:Placide Madison Sibomana (UTB), Ronald Muvara (APR), Fred Musoni (Finland, Karelian Hurons) and Vincent Dusabimana (Gisagara).