28 July, 2023
05 August
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Rwanda, Uganda: two teams that exceeded expectations at the 2023 FIBA Women’s


ABIDJAN (Cote d’Ivoire) – The 2023 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket concluded with the almost logical win from Nigeria, who overcame Senegal 84-74 in the BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda.

But along Nigeria, other teams, namely hosts Rwanda and Uganda, highlighted how fierce the competition is and how the level has risen in FIBA Africa’s Zone 5.


Destiney Promise Philoxy proved to be Rwanda's lethal weapon

Tournament hosts Rwanda had their most successful run ever at the 2023 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket. Returning to the African scene after a 12-year long absence, the national squad could not afford to miss the rendez-vous with their local fans.

Though they had already qualified for the 12-nation tournament as hosts, Rwanda entered the Zone 5 Qualifiers in Uganda. They left Kampala on a winless note, with a 0-4 streak, bowing to South Sudan, Kenya, Egypt and Uganda.

It was only at the Kigali showdown that they unleashed their full potential, claiming an easy win over Cote d’Ivoire, before giving in to Angola in their Group A games, but yet qualifying directly for the Quarter-Finals, where they met with Uganda. 

They took their revenge on a team that saw them off in the Qualifiers, and made it through to the Semi-Finals, where they fell to Nigeria. Rwanda would eventually finish fourth after they encountered Mali in the Classification Game for the Third Place.

When asked about their campaign, team captain Charlotte Umugwaneza says that it couldn’t have been better. “We were not seen as strong contenders, but we proved ourselves on the court,” she explains, crediting their success “to hard work, determination, and the blessings of God.”

Rwanda also counted on players like Destiney Promise Philoxy, who emerged as a true leader and a became a nightmare to every defender with her ball-handling and shooting skills, and Janai Crooms Robertson, who rose up to the challenge every time she was on the court.

Janai Crooms Robertson

And Rwanda could also count on their fans to make it through every game. “The support of our local fans and the public played a huge role in motivating and inspiring us to reach the Semi-Finals. Their energy pushed us forward and we really appreciated the way they were by our side, were we winning or losing,” adds Umugwaneza.

While they achieved history with a Fourth-place finish, the Central Africans are now looking forward to the next Women’s AfroBasket, in 2025. Facing reigning champions Nigeria deprived them their chances of making it to the Finals.

“Nigeria are a very good team, so when we faced them, we were somehow scared. But we gave it our all and learned valuable lessons for future games,” she concluded.


Another team that over-delivered was Uganda. Reaching Kigali with a 3-2 streak from the Zone 5 Qualifiers, the Gazelles were on a tricky track where they confronted former African champions Mali and 11-time Women’s AfroBasket winner Senegal.

Jane Asinde scored 20 points against Senegal

Though they had to bow down to Mali, they caused the tournament’s biggest upset when they went for a 85-83 win over Senegal, courtesy of stellar performances by Jannon Otto and Jane Asinde, who scored about half of Uganda’s total.

“We were hungry. We missed the 2019 tournament by a whisker and we were absent from the 2021 edition. So, we knew that whenever we get a chance, we had to take it,” says veteran point guard Flavia Oketcho.

Jannon Otto

The Gazelles then added DR Congo to their hit-list in the Classification Round, thus making it to the Quarter-Finals, where they fell to Rwanda in an energy-sapping encounter. But that did not prevent Jannon Otto from scoring a game-high 31 points.

Looking back on the Senegal encounter, Oketcho admits that it was the moment everyone was wishing for. “We were thinking to ourselves "It's about time!" We needed to believe that we belong, and there was no better way to show this.”

That game against Rwanda will be forever remembered as they had one chance at writing a piece of their history. “I strongly believe we had a chance to make it to the Semis-Finals. But it came down to which of us could execute plan B better and we fell short,” adds Oketcho.

Uganda's 7th place finish is the best result the Central African nation has registered at the FIBA Women's AfroBasket

What’s more, this 7th place finish has ignited a spark in the Uganda team for the upcoming events. “We’ll be a team to watch out for in the coming years. That’s for sure,” added the point guard.