27 May 2013
RWANDA : Espoir sign Hakizimana
THE National basketball league champions, Espoir basketball club have signed point guard Lionel Hakizimana from rivals APR on a two year-deal.
The development was confirmed yesterday by Espoir head coach Jean Bahufite.
He said that Hakizimana’s signing highlights the club’s vision of giving chance to young players as well as strengthening the club ahead of the 2013/14 season which gets underway in June.
According to Bahufite, recruiting Hakizimana is a good signal since the latter has gained vital experience which will help his team record many more successes especially if he blends well with other influential players such as Bievenu Ngandu, Aristide Mugabe and Olivier Shyaka.
“We want to have a team comprised of both young and experienced players such that as time goes by, we can have a solid team which will be able to compete at the highest level.”
Besides Hakizimana, Espoir has also signed promising youngster Fabrice Ruterana.
“It’s important to strengthen our team in preparation for next season. Hakizimana is a good player while Ruterana still has to work hard and needs time to prove his worth since he is still young. But they will all be good players in future,” added Bahufite.
Hakizimana has previously played for CSK and guided them to the Memorial Gisembe tournament in 2011/12 season and APR last season.
In April, Bahufite made history by becoming the first coach to lead Espoir to the league title for the first time in eight years with an unbeaten record.
Unbeaten Espoir celebrated their fourth national basketball league regular season title after trouncing 30-Plus 133-30.
The Nyamirambo-based outfit won all their 17 league games to remain the only unbeaten team this season, and made 17 straight wins, setting a new record that was not held by any Rwandan league champion.
After clinching the league, they went on to win the Play-offs tournament, still unbeaten.
Espoir won all three games which helped them to win two titles in what has been an outstanding season for the oldest basketball club in Rwanda.
They won Game One 89-63 and Game Two 106-54 and Game Three 78-68 respectively.
The win helped Espoir to add two titles to the Zone Five club championship crown they won last year in Kampala after beating Burundi’s Urumuri in the final.