Rwanda Energy Group (REG) have lined up a strong basketball team as they garner to win the 2018 FIBA Africa Zone V Club Basketball Championship which starts from September 30 to October 7 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Usual national team regulars of Kenneth Gasana, Dan Manzi and former skipper Hamza Ruhezamihigo are among the key players that will boost REG team during the tournament with a mission of winning to land a spot in the FIBA AfroLeague which will attract zonal winners and runners up from across Africa.
The team has also secured the services of American born Stephan Shepherd and Cameroonian Belck Bell Engelbert.
REG basketball team coach Richard Patrick Ngwijuruvugo said on Friday morning, “Our main mission is to win the upcoming tournament on our debut in the zonal championships,”
“We have had ample time of preparing for this tournament and the addition of key players like Gasana, Manzi and Ruhezamihigo will be pivotal in our campaign of winning the tournament,” added Ngwijuruvugo.
Team captain Kazingufu Ali highlighted the team’s motivation and desire to lift regional glory. “We are motivated, every player is looking forward to the tournament and I certainly believe we are a strong team now to win the tournament,”
“We have been boosted by the arrival of our fellow team mate son the national team like Manzi and Gasana and their involvement will be key as we seek to win the tournament and qualify for the continental tournament,” added Kazingufu.
Other key players who form the REG side includes Kaje Elie, Nkurunziza Chris Walter
Kami Kabange and Ngandu Mbanze Bienvenue.
Apart from REG, Patriots basketball club will also represent Rwanda in the men’s category in the zonal tournament. Patriots has also a solid squad composed of Aristide Mugabe, who also doubles as Rwanda national team skipper, guard Sedar Sagamba and small forward Dieudonne Ndayisaba, Michael Makiadi, Junior Songo and Steven Havugintwari.
Rwanda’s representatives will have a tough quest in the tournament as they will face 2016 African champions Al Ahly and Smouha, from Egypt, in the battle for the zonal honours.
Meanwhile, Uganda’s City Oilers have pulled out of the zonal Championship to join last season’s finalists KIU Titans who had already indicated they would not be taking part in the annual regional tournament.
Oilers who have been part of the last four editions and are two time defending champions of the tournament cited limited time for preps event.
A total of 10 teams have confirmed their participation in the men’s category, including Al Ahly and Smouha (Egypt), Ethiopia Water and Wolekite City (Ethiopia), Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Strathmore (Kenya), Patriots and REG (Rwanda) as well as JKT and Oilers from Tanzania.
In the women’s category, Rwanda will be represented by APR women basketball club. The contest will be spiced up by Wolkite City (Ethiopia), UCU (Uganda), JKT (Tanzania), Berco Stars (Burundi), KPA (Kenya) and Equity Bank (Kenya).
The top two teams in each category will qualify for the 16-team FIBA AfroLeague.
REG Basketball Squad: Kubwimana Kazingufu Ali, Mukengerwa Benjamin, Nshobozwabyosenumukiza J.J.Wilson, Kaje Elie, Ruhezamihigo Hamza, Habiyaremye Patrick, Gasana Kenneth, Belck Bell Engelbert, Ikishatse Herve, Manzi Dan Sorozo, Nkurunziza Chris Walter, Nshizirungu Patrick, Shyaka Olivier, Kami Kabange, Ncogoza Brunel, Stephan Shepherd and Ngandu Mbanze Bienvenue
Coach: Ngwijuruvugo Richard Patrick and Assistant Coach: Kassim Karim