28 July 2013

RWANDA : Espoir eye FIBA Africa zone five title defence

Holders Espoir basketball club are targeting to retain the Zone Five Club Championships title they won last year in Kampala, Uganda. This year’s edition will be held in Bujumbura, Burundi from August 5 to 11.
The local basketball league reigning champions Espoir, who finished the on-going league’s first round unbeaten, are seeking to make a strong defence of both the national league and regional championships before going for the continental championship next year.
Nyamirambo-based Espoir, who boast nine players in the national basketball senior team that is preparing for the African basketball championship (Afrobasket) set for next month in Ivory Coast, powered past Burundi’s side Urunani 90-39 to clinch last year’s FIBA Africa zone five title.
In women’s category, Eagle wings basketball club, from Kenya, claimed last year’s title after beating 77-54 their compatriots KPA.
Espoir BBC head coach John Bahufite, who is also the national senior team’s assistant coach, told Sunday Sport, yesterday. “The only target we have set is to defend our title and we can make it because we have the determination.”
“We have got an advantage of having nine players in the national team; this is helping them get fitter and ready for the zonal tournament,” he said.
The former Espoir player revealed that they will depart for Bujumbura on August 3, two days before the championship starts and come back a day after the competition on August 11.
Burundi’s New Stars and Warriors from Uganda will be Espoir’s main threat in the Bujumbura event. Last year’s championship’s MVP Arstide Mugabe, Lionnel Hakizimana, Bievenue Ngandu, Pascal Karekezi and Olivier Shyaka will lead Espoir’s title defence.
FIBA Africa Zone five club championship is contested by winners and first runners-up from basketball leagues of member countries namely; Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti, Egypt, Sudan and Southern Sudan.
Defenders Espoir, APR (men) and APR’s women will be this year’s Rwanda’s FIBA Africa zone five championship envoys.
Winners since 2002
2002: APR (Rwa)
2003: Ulinzi (Ken)
2004: Postbank (Ken)
2005: KCB (Ken)
2006: KCB (Ken)
2007: APR (Rwa)
2008: APR (Rwa)
2009: Coop (Ken)
2010: Coop (Ken)
2011: Urunani (Bur)
2012: Espoir (Rwa)

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