21 September 2014

RWANDA : We are ready to fight for Fiba Zone V title – Mutokambali

Forward Kami Kabange, seen in action at the 2013 Fiba Afrobasket tournament, will be vital for Rwanda at the zonal tournament in Uganda where he plays his club game for City Oilers. (File photo)
The national men’s basketball team is in Uganda to fight for the 2014 Fiba/Zone V Championship title. The tournament starts tomorrow and ends on September 28 at the Lugogo Arena, in Kampala.
The regional tournament which also acts as 2015 Fiba/Afro-basket and All Africa Games qualifier, is expected to attract nine countries including Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Somalia, hosts Uganda, debutants South Sudan and reigning champions Egypt.
The 12-man team, led by head coach Moise Mutokambali, left for Kampala on Friday night aboard RwandAir.
Speaking to Sunday Sport before departure, Mutokambali said: “We are heading for a difficult challenge but well focused on reaching as far as possible, though the main target to win the title.”
“I have a solid and confident team which believes in winning. We have had enough time to prepare and I hope we can go there and do what we are really capable of. We’ve worked on our defense where I felt was our weak point,” he explained.
Rwanda, who finished runner-up last year behind Egypt, will be hoping to go a step further this time round, although the North African side still remains the overwhelming favourites.
Coach Moise Mutokambali
Nonetheless, Mutokambali remains confident that Rwanda has talented and experienced players ready to face anyone and win the title.
“We have assembled a very good squad which has valuable experience. We know every team has made improvements, some have summoned their players featuring in Europe and USA but I do remain convinced that Rwanda can win the title,”
He added: “Our ambition is to win the title and qualify for the Afro-basket finals for a fifth consecutive time.”
In last year’s Zone V edition held in Tanzania, Rwanda lost to Egypt in the final but went ahead to qualify to the African tournament on wild card in Ivory Coast, finishing 10th out of 16 countries.
Egypt is fresh from competing at the Fiba World Cup in Spain but couldn’t register a single win in the group stages. Africa was represented by Angola, Egypt and Senegal. USA retained their world title.
Angola managed only one win—80-69 over South Korea while Senegal was the only African team that managed to progress to the round of 16.
Final 12-man squad:
Home-based players: Aboubakar Ally Barame (CSK), Ali Kazingufu Kubwimana (KBC), Sanny Niyongabo Munyandamutsa (APR), Steven Havugintwali (IPRC-Kigali) and Espoir’s Aristide Mugabe, Lionnel Hakizimana, Pascal Karekezi Rurangirwa, Elie Kaje and Olivier Shyaka.
Professionals: Kenneth Herbert Gasana (Al Wakrah- Qatar), Kami Kabange (City Oilers- Uganda) and Bradley Cameroon from South Bend, Indiana City- USA.

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