Shyaka named national basketball team captain

Olivier Shyaka prepares to shoot. File.

Power forward Olivier Shyaka has been appointed skipper of the men’s senior national basketball team, replacing Aristide Mugabe ahead of the upcoming 2nd round of FIBA World Cup qualifiers, slated for February 22-24 in Ivory Coast.

An excited Shyaka said the appointment presented him a great “opportunity” and vowed to do everything to help his team and country achieve great things. 

“It is a great honour to be given this responsibility and I’m ready to give my all to make sure the team delivers,” said the Rwanda Energy Group Basketball club player.

The Rwandan nation team are in camp at Lebanon Hotel Kigali in Remera and have been undertaking their daily training sessions at Petit Stade-Remera ahead of their departure to Ivory Coast on February 20.

In 2012, Shyaka was the driving force behind the national junior team that won the Fiba Africa Zone Five U-18 Championships after beating Kenya in the final at Amahoro indoor stadium.

He was named the tournament’s Most Valued Player.

His star performance for the junior side led to his first call-up to the senior national team in early 2013.

He was a member of the Rwandan side that finished second behind champions Egypt at the Fiba Zone V Championships in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.

Having cemented his place in the national team, the youngster was included in the team that represented the country at the 27th edition of FIBA Africa Men’s Championships held from August 20-31 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Rwanda finished in tenth out of 16 teams in a tournament which was eventually won by powerhouse Angola.

After completing high school in 2011, Shyaka joined Kigali Basketball Club in 2012 before he moved to Espoir the following year and then Rwanda Energy Group (REG).

Meanwhile, in warm-up games last Friday, the national team beat Kenya in game 1, 80-65, before both sides drew 65-65.