12 October 2010
RWANDA : Red Devils’ test for Junior hoops
Afrobasket U-18 Kagame Cup
Mali vs Mozambique 12.00 (Green Hills)
Egypt vs Ivory Coast 4pm (Amahoro)
Tunisia vs Gabon 4.30pm (Green hills)
Rwanda vs Congo 6.00pm (Amahoro)
Nigeria vs Algeria 8.00pm (Amahoro)
DESPERATE times call for desperate measures.
Paris Nelson will have that in mind when he lines up his youngsters for today’s tricky tie against Group A leaders Congo Brazzaville.
The junior hoops have looked every inch a side short of confidence in their opening three games.
While simple lay-ups have been hard to come by, the shooting has also been awful which bluntly means that the American coach needs to revise his strategy if Rwanda is to rise up to the occasion on Day 5 of the Afrobasket U-18 Kagame Cup.
The youngsters march into the contest on the back of two successive defeats against five-time champions Nigeria (63-85) and Mali (57-68) while Congo’s Red Devils have been unstoppable after sweeping their first three opponents; Mali (72-67), Mozambique (81-50) and Nigeria (79-67).
One area Nelson has to look into is shooting. Against Nigeria, stats show that Rwanda converted only seven of their 25 three-point attempts and eight of their 19 free throws. It is clear that the team will continue to struggle unless they solve their shooting crisis.
While Nelson blamed the team’s tense win over Algeria (66-63) to home pressure, his promise of the team coming good has not been forthcoming.
With one win and two defeats, Rwanda is in the lower part of the table (fourth) with four points. Congo tops the group with six points while Mali and Nigeria follow in second and third place with five points apiece. Algeria who are in for a toughie this afternoon against Nigeria are fifth with four points, one clear of Mozambique, who are still chasing for their first win at the competition.
In Group B, defending champions Egypt will be out to make it four wins on the trot when they play Ivory Coast this afternoon. The other tie pits Tunisia and Gabon at Amahoro.
At the end of the tournament, the top two sides will qualify for next year’s Fiba U-18 World Championships in Latvia.