By beating Uganda 92-79, Rwanda grabbed the last spot available for Group B for the Second Round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers.
Inspired by a group of young players led by Kenneth Gasana, Rwanda’s victory over regional neighbours saw them become the only East African representative in the battle for a spot in next year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.
Gasana finished with a game-best 20 points, Elie Kaje and Olivier Shyaka added 16 points apiece, while Robinson Odoch, Jordin Mayes and Deng John Geu combined for 48 Uganda points.
It’s a highly significant victory for Rwanda, especially as these two teams became in recent years synonymous with the rivalry of East African basketball.
Uganda entered the second-leg of Group B trailing group leaders Nigeria and ahead of Rwanda but ended up in the last place, while Rwanda beat Mali 82-72 on Friday before closing out the First Round with a much-need triumph.
While Rwanda move to the next round with a 3-3 record, Uganda return home with a 1-5 mark and a lot of homework to do.
The first leg of the second round tournament will take place during the fourth window between September 10 and 18 before the return leg between November 26 and December 4.
The 2019 Men’s World Cup will be made up of made up of 32 teams for the first time – with five teams coming from Africa. It holds in China from August 31 to September 15, 2019.
FIBA Africa WC Qualifers
Group B, Sunday Matches
Rwanda 92-79 Uganda
Nigeria 93-53 Mali
P W L Pts
Nigeria 6 6 0 12
Rwanda 6 3 3 9
Mali 6 2 4 8
Uganda 6 1 5 7