Rwanda qualify for third straight FIBA U16 African Championship
KIGALI (Rwanda) - Hosts Rwanda saw off Uganda twice convincingly in the just concluded Zone 5 Qualifiers to book their place at the upcoming FIBA U16 African Championship set to be held in Cape Verde from July 5-14.
Rwanda led the first quarter 26-6 of the first game on Wednesday much to the shock of the Ugandan technical bench who seemed to have been caught off-guard with that performance by their neighbours.
The second quarter was not any better for Uganda as they managed to score just five points while conceding 25. Rwanda ran away with the third quarter and led 81-21 at the end of the period before eventually winning 96-36.
Kevin Ishema scored an impressive 20 points while his teammates Pacifique Mutabazi and Romain Kizito Murenzi added 19 and 15 points in that order as team work came in handy for Yves Murenzi's side who were keenly supported by their family and friends in the stands.
"WE ARE VERY HAPPY WITH OUR QUALIFICATION TO THE FIBA U16 AFRICAN CHAMPIONSHIP. WE LOOKED VERY GOOD IN THE FIRST GAME AND THAT WAS VERY IMPORTANT FOR OUR CAMPAIGN."
For Rwanda, size played a very key role with Dick Sano Rutatika, who has been part of the NBA Academy in Senegal, dominating the boards on both offence and defense eventually being named as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
With two countries taking part in the Zone 5 Qualifiers, a two-legged affair with Rwanda taking on Uganda once again to determine the champions was on the cards.
In the second leg, Rwanda led 23-7 but Uganda played solid defence in the second quarter to reduce Rwanda's offence to just 10 points while scoring seven themselves and despite trailing 33-14 at the half time break, they were proud of their efforts.
More of that in the third quarter when Uganda dropped 20 points in the third quarter while limiting Rwanda to 15 points with the latter leading 48-34.
Rwanda eventually won 72-51 bringing their win ratio to 2-0 and deservedly so booking their slot to the continental showpiece for the third straight time.
CONGRATULATIONS to team Rwanda National Team U16 MEN won the zone 5 preliminaries and qualifies to AFROBASKET that will be held in Cap-Vert in August. @FIBA @AfricaLeague @MINISPOC @RwandaOlympic #imihigoirakomeje 🇷🇼 Rwanda 72-51 🇺🇬Uganda 🏀 pic.twitter.com/1oUZc4bShX— FERWABA (@ferwabaRW) June 15, 2019
Head coach Murenzi said: "We are very happy with our qualification to the FIBA U16 African Championship. We looked very good in the first game and that was very important for our campaign. Uganda played well in the second game and we are going to look into our weaknesses as we prepare for the final tournament."
"We have to play more friendly games seeing as this will help us to correct our mistakes."
Rwanda joined the 2017 winners Mali, runners up Egypt as well as Algeria and Tunisia who have automatic qualification to this year's edition in Cape Verde next month.