Basketball: Rwanda face Algeria in FIBA U18 Africa champs opener

Rwanda have been drawn in Group B alongside the defending champions Angola, Tunisia, Cote d'Ivoire, Algeria and Senegal.
The Rwandan team is seen here during a training session in Bamako, Mali on Thursday night. Courtesy

Today

Group B
Algeria vs Rwanda 3:30pm

Group A   
DR Congo vs Uganda 5:45pm

Opening Ceremony 8pm
Mali vs Guinea 9pm

The national U18 boys’ basketball team will this afternoon lock horns with Algeria in the opening game of this year’s FIBA U18 African Championship that starts today and run until September 2, in Bamako, Mali. The game starts at 3:30pm.

The biennial event has attracted a total of 12 teams where the two finalists will earn the right to represent Africa at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2019.

Rwanda is at the continental showpiece as the FIBA Africa Zone V champions and has been drawn in Group B along with defending champions Angola, Tunisia; Cote d'Ivoire; Algeria and Senegal.

Group A is composed of hosts Mali, Mali; Egypt; Uganda; Guinea; DR Congo and Libya.

The Preliminary Phase of the tournament will be played in a round robin format, with every team taking on its five (5) group opponents.

The top four teams from each group will advance to the round of last eight, played in a knockout format from the quarter-finals.

The 3rd place playoff game and the final will be played on the last day of the tournament, September 2, and the winner and the runners-up will secure tickets to FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup.

Key stats about the continental showpiece:

Reigning champions

Angola won the last edition of the FIBA U18 African Championship after denying favorites Egypt in the final two years ago in Kigali, Rwanda.

Absence

One of the top basketball nations in Africa, Nigeria have won a record seven FIBA U18 Africa titles. However, they will be a no-show in Bamako. Nigeria last took part in the competition back in 2008 when took home a third-place finish.

Egypt

One of the few teams to have won back-to-back championships (2008 and 2010) - along with Angola and Nigeria, the Pharaohs - who won three of the last five editions - are clearly a team to watch out for.

Senegal

After winning the 2012 edition of the Championship in Maputo, Mozambique, the Senegalese pulled out of the 2014 and 2016 editions. With a team that features some of the brightest talents on the continent in Mohamed Tutu and Salli Moye, Senegal emerge as one of the frontrunners.

Mali

A basketball stronghold, Mali is hosting the FIBA U18 Africa for the first time. While Mali women's teams have enjoyed a huge success at the continental level, boys' teams are yet to win the top prize.

Debutants

Hit by that a social unrest over the past eight years, Libya enter the Bamako showdown looking to relaunch the game of basketball in the country. There is no record of Libya in the history of the competition in the last three decades.

Most successful

Egypt have more continental titles (5) than any participating team in this year's FIBA U18 African Championship.

What’s at stake?

The two finalists will earn the right to represent Africa at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2019.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw
 

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