14 August 2015

RWANDA : Espoir's Mugabe eyes FIBA Africa Zone V title

Mugabe has challenged his Espoir teammates to turn focus on winning the forthcoming Zone Five Championships. (File)
After retaining both the basketball regular league title and the play-offs trophy, Espoir Point Guard and captain Aristide Mugabe has challenged his teammates not to sit on their laurels but instead turn focus on winning the forthcoming Zone Five Championships.
This year’s FIFA Africa Zone Five Club Championship is scheduled for October 4-11 in Kigali, Rwanda.
The 27-year-old made the call after leading the Nyamirambo-based Espoir to their fourth consecutive play-offs title last weekend at Amahoro indoor stadium.
Espoir, won the Zone V Championship in 2012 in Kampala, and claimed this year’s play-offs crown after overwhelming debutants Patriots Basketball Club 3-1 in the best-of-five finals series. Patriots won Game 1 but Espoir’s superiority shone through as they dominated Game 2, 3 and 4.
“We are happy we retained the play-offs title to add to the (regular season) league but the tougher challenge lies ahead in the Zone V Championship. Our objective is to win the tournament in-front of our home fans,” Mugabe said on Tuesday.
The Rwanda international noted that, “Every team will come here (Kigali) targeting us, so we need to be really up for the challenge. For us to get maximum support from our fans, we also need to play well and show them that we mean business.”
Jean Bahufite’s team takes a short break to enjoy yet another successful season but return to training in the next two weeks to start preparing for the regional championships.
Espoir defeated Burundi’s Urunani to win the 2012 Zone V title in Kampala before losing in the final the following year (to Urunani) in Bujumbura. Last year in Mombasa, the Rwandan champions failed to go beyond the group stages, finishing sixth out of eight teams.
Urunani beat Kenya’s Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) 68-59 to retain the title while USIU of Kenya thrashed compatriots KPA 63-26 to claim the women’s crown.

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