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Rwanda secure FIBA Africa U18 Championship slot
DAR ES SALAAM (FIBA Africa U18 Championship) – After hosting a successful tournament in 2016, Rwanda made it a point to return to the continental showpiece and indeed a five-game unbeaten run in the Tanzanian capital saw them achieve their target.
Emile Galois Kazeneza with 18 points and five rebounds led Rwanda’s charge in their opening tie against Sudan to register their first win at the Zone 5 meet that tipped off from June 17-22.
A convincing victory over hosts Tanzania 85-45 saw Yves Murenzi’s side take charge of their destiny at the regional competition that attracted four nations in the men’s category.
Jean de Dieu Umuhoza dropped 18 points while Nabil Danny Rurangwa registered an incredible double double with 15 points and 10 rebounds to inspire Rwanda to a deserved win.
Kazeneza added 11 points to the tally.
Against their archrivals Uganda, Rwanda dominated the game and led 29-17 at the half time mark and indeed the 76-61 score line does not tell the entire story. Rwanda looked very much in control.
Kazeneza’s 18 points sealed it for Rwanda as table leaders into the semifinals where they took on the hosts. A 64-24 victory saw them book a place in the final against Uganda who they made light work of 84-50.
“We have been together since 2016 and this team is really promising. You can see that the team gels very well and they know their strengths and weaknesses and we are always working to improve,” said Murenzi.
This will be Rwanda’s second consecutive qualification to this stage, a feat that the East African nation wants to maintain in the future.
Rwanda finished an incredible fifth two years in front of a supportive home crowd and will be looking to better this performance when they join a host of 11 other teams from across the continent at the biennial competition that will take place from August 17-26 in Bamako, Mali.