Rwanda men’s national basketball team is engaged in intensive preparations ahead of the second window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers due in Nigeria from June 29-July 1.
Rwanda will battle in group B alongside hosts reigning African champions Nigeria, Uganda and Mali.
The team composed of 25 players which is managed by head coach Maxime Mwiseneza and his assistant Aime Karim Nkusi, started training mid this week with majority of players drawn from local clubs.
Only four professional players namely Kenneth Gasana, Dan Manzi, Adonis Rwabigwi and Kevin Ndahiro have been summoned for the second window of the qualifying round.
Rwanda will be hoping to improve on their performances registered in the first window of the qualifying phase. In the second window, Rwanda will play Mali in the first game on June 29 and face giants Nigeria the following day before taking on Uganda on July 1.
In the first window which was hosted in Mali, Rwanda team which was at that time managed by Moise Mutokambali, finished bottom of the table with four points, level on points as first-runners up Uganda and third-placed Mali.
Powerhouse Nigeria topped the table with a maximum six points after winning all their matches.
Rwanda won the opening game 74-70 against hosts Mali 74-70 before losing 108-53 to Nigeria and then 79-63 to neighbours Uganda.
According to FIBA, the top-three teams of each of the four groups will advance to the decisive 12-team round of the qualifiers, which will see teams (in two groups of six) play home-and-away games over another three-window period and the top two teams from each group, plus the best loser, will then qualify for World Cup.
The seven other African teams that missed out on qualifying directly will then take part in a new 16-team competition called the FIBA-African to be played in the summer of 2019.
Under FIBA’s new competition System, Africa will for the first time qualify five teams to the World Cup that will be hosted by China from August 31st to September 15th.
Full 29-player provisional squad
Point guards: Aristide Mugabe, Ali Kazingufu Kubwimana, Sedar Sagamba, Jean Jacques Wilson Nshobozwabyosenumukiza, Phillipe Kubanatubane and Emmanuel Iyakaremye
Guards and forwards: Parfait Ishimwe, Walter Nkurunziza, Dieudonne Ndizeye, Steven Hagumintwari, Bruno Nyamwasa, Fiston Irutingabo, Deo Amani, Nshizirungu Patrick and Prince Muhizi
Power forwards: Bievenue Niyonsaba, Olivier Shyaka, Pascal Niyonkuru, Ali Ruzigande and Victor Mutabaruka
Centers: Kami Kabange Milambwe, Eric Munyaneza, Jean Paul Ndoli, Elie Kaje and Fabrice Mugiraneza
Foreign-based players: Kenneth Gasana, Dan Manzi, Adonis Rwabigwi and Kevin Ndahiro