JUNIOR national basketball team captain Pascal Karekezi has challenged his colleagues to rise up to the occasion when they take on Kenya in the Zone Five qualifiers which kick off this weekend in Kigali.
Karekezi, who was a chubby youngster in the U-18 team that finished 6th in the 2010 qualifiers, wants to make amends this time round by winning the tournament which is being hosted by Kigali for the second consecutive time.
"The pressure on us in 2010 to perform well in the quarter-final got to our heads and we lost, but it is a different prospect now because I and a few colleagues have experience in such a competition and we know what we want," noted the center forward.
His coach Nenad Amanovic is however cautions of a physical Kenya side and has called on his players to be aggressive in the two games against Kenya.
The Kenyan team is expected to arrive in the country this afternoon by road, and will have only a day to prepare for action on the opening day of the tournament.
Claims in certain quarters that the hosts would have it easy against fatigued opponents have been rubbished by the Rwanda Basketball Federation president Desire Mugwiza.
"They'll have over 24 hours to recuperate, so it would be silly for us to bank on the notion that they will be tired. Our goal is to win the games fair and square," Mugwiza said.
Zone Five Qualifies
Kenya (W) vs Rwanda (W) 2:00pm
Rwanda (M) vs Kenya (M) 16:30pm