Mwinuka warns rivals ahead of playoff games

Henry Mwinuka has guided Patriots to two league titles, in 2016 and 2018, since his appointment as head coach in December 2015. / Courtesy

HENRY Mwinuka, the head coach of Patriots basketball club, has warned that his side will be merciless in the upcoming postseason playoff games as they look to retain the league title.

Patriots, who finished the regular season in May as table leaders, face former giants APR on Friday in Game 1 of the best-of-three semi-finals. The latter finished in fourth position.

Should Patriots successfully retain their title, they will become the first team to win two championships in a row since Espoir’s record four titles between 2012 and 2015.

“We want to retain the title, and we are ready to fight for it with all that we got,” Mwinuka told Times Sport on Tuesday.

The Tanzania-born tactician, who was appointed as Patriots head coach in December 2015, further noted that his players are ‘physically and mentally fit’ before urging them to “be merciless and underrate no opponent” in the title defence campaign.

Henry Mwinuka gives instructions to his Patriots players during a past league game against APR at Amahoro Stadium. / Courtesy

Since the club’s formation in late 2014, Patriots have, arguably, been the most dominant team, and have contributed more players to the national team than any other side in the last five years.

In another semi-final, hopefuls Rwanda Energy Group (REG) face Espoir, also in the best-of-three series. The two sides’ first game also takes place Friday.

Patriots and REG, the country’s two finest teams, are favourites to go through for a repeat of last year’s best-of-five finals.

League champions will automatically secure ticket to represent Rwanda at the 2020 annual FIBA Africa Zone V Club Championship, whose host nation is yet to be determined.

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