Rwanda’s campaign at the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers is likely to suffer a big blow as five out of the seven summoned professional players for national duty are likely to miss out the continental tournament.
Last month, Rwanda Basketball Federation (FERWABA) invited seven Rwandan professoonal players plying their trade in Africa, USA and Canada namely; Gasana Kenneth (Club Tanger, Morocco), Manzi Dan (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, USA), Rwabigwi Jean Paul Adonis (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, USA) Twagirayezu Patrice (Covenant College Carolina, USA), Ruhezamihigo Hamza (Concordia Mantreal, Canada), Bradley Cameron (Gulf Coast College South Bend Indiana, USA), Ndahiro Kevin (University Deland-FL, USA).
The Rwanda basketball coach Moise Mutokambali told KT Sports on Friday that due to different club engagements of many of his professional players, he might be forced to rely on the local talents for the continental assignment.
“Among the summoned professional players, we have only got confirmation from Kenny Gasana and Ruhezamihigo Hamza who will be joining us on February 10 after the completion of their club engagements,”
“The remaining five professional players are likely not to make it because some have exams while others will be engaged in their respective conference matches which are ending this month,” added Mutokambali.
He further added, “It will be a big blow not having them for the qualifiers but we will put much effort in putting trust in our local based players who have upped the game.”
“The experience of these professional players was needed to boost our team and some key positions of our players. For example, the likes of Kaje Elie and Kami Kabange among others will need capable replacements if we are to reach a desired level we want but all in all, we will still find solutions in our players back home should we fail to get them on time.”
“After this month’s qualifying round, we expect to have all the professional players in the next round due in late June,” added Mutokambali.
Rwanda is drawn in Group B along with Uganda, 2015 champions Nigeria and hosts Mali for the qualifiers which will run from February 23 to 25 in the Malian capital of Bamako.
Rwanda opens their campaign against hosts Mali on February 23 before taking on Nigeria the next day and rounding out their first leg play against regional rivals Uganda on February 25.
The teams that finish in top-three of the four qualifying groups will advance to the 12-team second-round.
And, Rwanda will compete for one of the five tickets on offer for African nations for the 32-team FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China.