Rwanda basketball team head coach Vladimir Bosnjak has named the final squad of payers who will take part in the sixth and final qualification round of FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers scheduled to take place this weekend in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
The eighteen-man delegation composed of 12 players and 8 technical officials departs for Cote d’Ivoire on Wednesday at 19h45 ahead of their final qualification matches which will be played on Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively.
The team had their final training session on Tuesday at Green Hills Indoor courts. The national hoops also played two friendly matches against Kenya last weekend with Rwanda winning the first game 80-65 then drew 65-65 against the Kenyans in the second match.
The travelling squad includes among others the newly appointed captain Shyaka Olivier and star players namely Gasana Kenneth Herbert, US based duo of Adonis Rwabigwi and Darrius Garret and Kami Kabange.
Others include: Sagamba Sedar, Nshobozwabyosenumukiza JJ Wilson, Uwizeye Placide, Hagumintwari Steven, Ndizeye Ndayisenga Dieudonne, Kazeneza Emil Galois and Schommer Dylan Kalecyezi.
Rwanda takes on Senegal in the first game on Friday at 19h30 before taking on hosts Cote d’Ivoire on Saturday at 22h00 while the last encounter is due on Sunday against Central Africa Republic at 19h30.
Rwanda and Senegal will be meeting for the fourth time in just over a decade with an important decision at stake. Their encounter on Friday will mark one of the highlights of the second leg of Group F of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers.
It’s been almost twelve years since Senegal used their dominance to destroy then up-and-coming Rwanda 93-58 at FIBA AfroBasket 2007.
Since then, clashes between these two teams have become more balanced with the latest one – last September – showing how Africa’s No. 3 team Senegal needed to step up to prevail 94-89 in Lagos, Nigeria.
Yet, Senegal still holds a 3-1 head-to-head advantage ahead of the Abidjan meeting. The Senegalese sit in second place of Group F with 16 points, and are one win away from securing one of the five tickets available for African teams for this year’s World Cup in China.
Meanwhile, Rwanda will look to delay or make Senegal’s World Cup aspirations a little harder even though they no longer have a chance to qualify for the China 2019 showpiece.
The Rwandan hoops head to Abidjan with a 3-6 record thanks to wins over Mali (twice) and Uganda.
“Our target is to win at least one game and to be in the top eight in the final ranking,” Rwanda head coach Vladimir Bosnjak recently admitted.
In his latest move to refresh his team, Bosnjak named Olivier Shyaka as the team captain while veteran Aristide Mugabe won’t be traveling to Abidjan. The Serbian added: “We also want to target refreshing our roster and involve some younger players to have a bigger role in our national team performance.”
Two last FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 tickets are still up for grabs in Africa and
Central African Republic (CAF), Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire or Cameroon will be aiming to join Angola, Nigeria and Tunisia to China which will host the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 from August 31 to September 15.
Rwanda Basketball Delegation
Squad: Sagamba Sedar, Nshobozwabyosenumukiza JJ Wilson, Uwizeye Placide, Hagumintwari Steven, Ndizeye Ndayisenga Dieudonne, Gasana Kenneth Herbert,. Kazeneza Emil Galois, Shyaka Olivier, Kami Kabange, Rwabigwi Adonis, Schommer Dylan Kalecyezi and Darrius Garrett
Technical Team: Vladimir Bonsjak (Head Coach), Mwiseneza Maxime (Assistant Coach), Nkusi A.Karim (2nd Assistant Coach), Mwambali Serge (Physical Conditioner), Muhanimana Emmanuel (Team Doctor) and Uwimana Martin (Team Physiotherapist).
Friday, February 22
Rwanda vs Senegal (19h30 local time)
Saturday, February 23
Rwanda vs Cote d’Ivoire (22h00)
Sunday, February 24
Rwanda vs Central Africa Republic (19h30)