29 August 2012

Rwanda: Espoir Are Zone V Club Champions

When Rwanda's sole representatives at this year's Zone V Club championships confirmed their participation in the annual tournament, every basketball fan in the region did not give them a benefit of doubt as potential winners.
In fact not many fans were sure which country they were representing until they took to the court and stunned tournament favourites-Kyambogo Warriors 72-56 in their opening game.
A win against Tanzania's Savio 90-51 in their second Pool A fixture made sure Espoir booked a berth in the semi-finals despite a loss to the reigning tournament champions Urunani of Burundi 68-66 in their final group game.
A one sided game against the reigning league champions of Uganda, Power 67-54 in the first semi-final game confirmed their official bid for a regional title and to say that they would predict the results of the final maybe celebrations would have started earlier.
Espoir outclassed, out-rebounded and outplayed Urunani in the final to an extent that fans questioned the Burundian side's presence in the regional final. Espoir outscored Urunani 20-14 and 24-10 in the first two quarters to enjoy a comfortable half time lead.
A further dominance in the second half 24-8 and 22-7 sealed off the well-deserved victory for the Rwandan outfit that showed maturity, excellence and revengeful payback to the Burundians who had defeated them just two days ago.
Eventual tournament Most Valuable Player (MVP) and top scorer Aristide Mugabe sunk a spectacular 26 points as teammate Jean Louis Habineza dropped 24 points with seven three pointers in his collection.
Kami Kabange and Bienvenue Ngandu each dropped 17 and 13 points respectively to chock Urunani as the latter saw their title defense go to the drain.
Mugabe took to the social media revealing that this achievement was a realisation of his dreams as well as those of the entire team that had worked hard to make sure this dream came alive.
The last time a Rwandan side won the Zone V Club championships was in 2008 when APR clinched the title at a tournament hosted in Addis Ababa. APR also won the title in 2002 and 2007.
Men, Final
Espoir (Rwa) 90-39 Urunani (Bur)
Women, Final
Eagle Wings (Ken) 77-54 KPA (Ken)

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