02 June 2015

RWANDA : Rwanda U-16 team qualify for Afro-basket

Sano Gasana grabs the ball during the second game against Ethiopia on Sunday. (Samuel Niyonziza)
Most Valuable Player
Sano Gasana (Rwanda)
Top Scorer
Baruk Degefa 36 pts (Ethiopia)
Rwanda U-16 boys’ basketball team head coach Albert Buhake has praised the performance of his players after qualifying for next month’s FIBA U16 Afro-basket in Mali.
Rwanda lost the opening game against Ethiopia 67-52 on Saturday but the hosts recovered in the second game on Sunday winning it 69-52 at Amahoro indoor stadium hence qualifying with better aggregate points (121-119).
After losing the first game, Buhake’s side needed to win the second game by a difference of 15 points, which the youngster dully did.
After the game Buhake said that, “Every player gave everything to achieve this, so am happy to win this tournament and qualify.  We have done a lot to reach this level, we will continue to prepare the kids for the future; it’s our first time to compete in the FIBA Afro-basket tournament.”
Rwanda dominated the second match, winning the first two quarters 17-8 and 17-12 respectively. Ethiopia proved that winning the first game wasn’t a fluke by taking the third quarter 23-17 but Rwanda recovered and won the fourth quarter with 18-9.
Early on Saturday, Ethiopia shocked the hosts 67-52 after winning the first quarter 18-14, and second quarter 17-14. Rwanda improved in the third quarter winning it 20-18 but Ethiopia fought back and won the fourth quarter 14-4.
Rwanda players celebrate with the trophy. (S. Niyonziza)
The Zone V Championships attracted only two teams after the other member countries failed to turn up citing lack of U-16 teams in both the boys and girls categories.
Rwanda will be making its debut appearance in the continental annual competition which is in its fourth edition this year. Angola won the last edition in 2013 after beating Egypt 75-66.
The team captain Arnaurd Nkunsi said, “I’m happy with the performance of our team, and I want to congratulate my teammates for the effort each one of us put to make this dream a reality.”
Forward, Sano Gasana, who played a key role in Rwanda’s triumph, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and the best three-point shooters with 15 points off five attempts in two games.
Afterwards he said, “I am happy with the MVP award, but what is most important is that the team has won a title, I am thankful to God who helped us.”
Meanwhile, the Rwandan girls had already qualified for the FIBA Afro-basket U-16 tournament set for July 16-24 in Madagascar.

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