Rwanda will this coming January 2019, start a process of selecting young basketball talents for the renown US-based National Basketball Association (NBA) scholarship programme, officials have said.
At least 60 school basketball teams composed of 30 boys and 30 girls will take part in the selection process which will be held in all six divisions across the country.
This comes days after Rwanda signed a five years (renewable) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with North Central Texas Academy to grant, every year, five to ten scholarships to selected Rwandans under 17 years old.
“The students will compete in their respective zones, and we will be looking for best talents,” said Shema Butera, the Executive Director of Rwanda Basketball Federation (Ferwaba).
Butera said that the commencement of the January league will be communicated as soon as it is decided on by the federation.
Rwanda has six basketball zones which include: Eastern, Central, Northern, Southern, Western 1 and 2 Zones.
With only one Rwandan in the NBA, Frank Ntilikina who plays for the New York Knicks, the scholarships programme is expected to steer competition among local talents and source advanced game skills.
Basketball is gaining popularity and sponsorship opportunities.
Last week, Rwanda Basketball Federation landed on a Rwf300 million sponsorship deal with Bank of Kigali (BK) aimed at creating a pool of young talented players.