The men’s junior national team looked upbeat mood as they departed Kigali Wednesday night ahead of the 2019 FIBA Africa Men’s U16 Basketball Championship.
The continental showpiece starts Friday and will run through July 14 in Cape Verde.
The team, comprised of 12 players, flew with an Ethiopian Airlines flight, at 1:45am, on the back of an intensive weeklong training in residential camp at Lycee de Kigali.
Shortly before takeoff, head coach Murenzi was optimistic about his side’s prospects for an improved performance this year compared to their 2017 sixth position finish.
“I was impressed by the morale and talent of the youngsters in camp, and I am confident we are going to do better. Our target is to finish, at least, in top four.”
Rwanda secured qualification to the tournament after winning the regional Zone V championship in Kigali last month.
In the quest for their first Youth Afrobasket title, Murenzi’s boys will have to overcome stiff competition from prominent challengers such as Egypt, Tunisia, Mali, Algeria and Angola.
Other teams in the tournament include hosts Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Guinea Conakry and South Africa.
Augustin Niyomugabo, Emmanuel Ntayomba, Brillant Brave Izere Rutsindura, Brian Karenzi, Emmanuel Cyusa Ntaganira, Ishema Kevin, Bonheur Muhizi Ngoga, Pacifique Mutabazi, Romain Kizito Murenzi, Jules Irakoze, Patrick Gakuba, and Dick Sano Rutatika.