The National men’s senior basketball team will face Kenya in two build-up matches this week as part of preparations for the upcoming 2nd round of FIBA world cup qualifiers, which will be held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
From February 22-24, Cote d’Ivoire will host in their largest city of Abidjan the second leg of Group F, which includes Mali, Rwanda, Central African Republic, Senegal and Nigeria.
The team, under the tutelage of Serbian coach Vladimir Bosnjak and his assistant Maxime Mwiseneza, are in camp at Lebanon Hotel Kigali in Remera as they undergo intensive preparations at Petit Stade- Remera.
According to Rwanda Basketball Federation (FERWABA), the two matches are organised to prepare the national team for the next qualification window of World Cup Qualifiers scheduled to take place in Abidjan.
The national hoops side is expected to head to Cote d’Ivoire on February 20, two days before the tournament gets underway.
The first match between Rwanda and Kenya is due on Friday night from 21:00 while the second game will be played on Saturday from 18:00.
The national team has been holding non-residential training since January and out of 23 total players, 17 players have been picked to join the final residential camp.
US-based professional players namely Adonis Rwabigwi and Darrius Garret are expected to boost the side by joining Kenneth Gasana who is already in the country.
Rwanda registered a disappointed winless campaign during the second round – fourth window – games which were held in September in Lagos, Nigeria.
Rwanda had reached this stage after defeating Uganda and Mali in July to progress to the second round as Group B first runners-up, behind leaders Nigeria.
With the performance, Rwanda and Mali who are tied on fifth place on 12 points in nine matches played can’t proceed to the World Cup finals in China.
Nigeria has already qualified to the World Cup finals after securing 18 points. Senegal, Central African Republic (CAR) and Cote d’Ivoire will be vying for the remaining two slots which are up for grabs for the African teams.
Besides Rwanda and Mali, there is also no hope for Egypt, Morocco and Chad to make it to the finals.
One African side who can still qualify is Cameroon, who finished third in Group E and will secure a spot in the World Cup if the third-placed team in Group F has a worse record.
Cameroon will stage the final qualifiers in February 2019. Senegal will also secure a spot at the World Cup with a win or if Cote d’Ivoire loses at least one of their last three games. Cote d’Ivoire and the Central Africa Republic are also still in contention for a ticket to China.
Following the fifth window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers, 17 teams now know they will join hosts China at the first-ever 32-team edition of basketball’s biggest competition. That means 14 spots are still on offer and will be filled in the sixth and final window of the Qualifiers, in February 2019.
Continental champions Tunisia, Nigeria and Angola are the only African countries to qualify for the World Cup.
Other teams that have qualified for the 2019 finals are New Zealand, South Korea, Argentina, the U.S., Venezuela, Canada, Australia, Spain, Turkey, Lithuania, France, Czech Republic, Greece and Germany.
National team players in camp:
Sedar Sagamba, JJ Wilson Nshobozwabyosenumukiza, Steven Hagumuntwari, Dieudonne Ndizeye, Pascal Niyonkuru, Emile Gallois Kazeneza, Fiston Irutingabo, Ally Ruzigande, Olivier Kamilindi, Olivier Shyaka,Kaje Elie, Shaffi Habineza, Placide Uwizeye, Kenneth Gasana, Kami Kabange, and Dylan Schommer Kalecyezi
Friday, February 22, 2019
Rwanda vs Senegal
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Cote d’Ivoire vs Rwanda
Sunday, February 24, 2019
Central Africa Republic vs Rwanda