REG upbeat for strong start into new season

Rwanda Energy Group beat APR in the last four en route to winning the BK Preseason Basketball Tournament at Amahoro Stadium on Sunday. Sam Ngendahimana

Rwanda Energy Group (REG) will be looking to start the 2018-19 Bank of Kigali National Basketball League on a positive note when they take on IPRC-South on Saturday and Rusizi BBC the following day.

The red and black outfit will start the campaign to dethrone champions Patriots with a tricky away fixture against IPRC- South in Huye District before traveling to South-West of the country to face lowly Rusizi on Sunday.

“We are ready for the new season. We anticipate the two (away) games to be tricky, but we are determined to overcome. All the players are in good form,” REG head coach, Patrick Ngwijuruvugo, told Times Sport on Tuesday.

REG retained the preseason tournament’s title on Sunday after beating Espoir 80-63 in the final.

He added, “Winning the preseason tournament boosted the morale of players, we are going to focus on one game at a time and avoid the mistake of underrate any opponent.”

The new league season will get underway on Friday with Henry Mwinuke’s Patriots tussling it out with IPRC-Kigali while Espoir will be up against UGB – both games at Amahoro Stadium.

The 2016/2017 champions, Rwanda Energy Group, were notably dominated by their bitter rivals Patriots last season, beating them to the league and playoffs titles.

The eight-team league – in men’s category – will be comprised of Patriots, REG, Espoir, APR, IPRC- South, IPRC- Kigali, UGB and Rusizi.

In the meantime, the women’s league will be kicking off on Saturday when champions IPRC-South host former champions APR in Huye District.

The national basketball league in both men and women’s categories – among other competitions – will be sponsored and named after the Bank of Kigali starting with the 2018-19 season till 2021.

Rwanda Basketball Federation (Ferwaba) and Bank of Kigali signed a sponsorship deal worth Rwf 300 million last Friday.