Rwanda Energy Group (REG) basketball have appointed Serbian Igor Kovacevic as their new head coach on a one-year deal as the team steps up preparations for Game 2 of the playoffs finals.
The development was confirmed to Times Sport on Wednesday by Francis Mulindahabi, the club’s president.
Kovacevic takes over the club’s hot seat from Patrick Ngwijuruvugo who has been demoted to the assistant coach role. Ngwijuruvugo, a former Burundi international, had been head coach since late 2017.
“We are happy to have him (Kovacevic) as our new coach, and we are confident that with Ngwijuruvugo as his assistant, they will do a great job,” said Mulindahabi.
He further noted that the first task for the Serbian tactician is to win the 2018/2019 league title before planning for next season. REG trail reigning champions Patriots after losing Game 1 of the best-of-seven playoffs finals a fortnight ago.
In separate interview, Kovacevic told this publication that he is not new to African basketball, having previously coached in Ivory Coast and Libya, and he looks forward to turning REG into one of the best basketball clubs in the region.
However, he also admitted that overcoming the defending champions – especially when they are leading the finals – won’t come easy and urged his players to show maturity and character in Game 2 come August 30.
“We have to consider Game 2 as the title decider, and that has to be reflected in how we prepare for it,” noted Kovacevic. “We can’t afford to lose focus.”
The 2017 champions, REG, are looking to reclaim the league title after losing it to Patriots last season.