Despite poor pre-tournament preparations, the men’s basketball team finished 10th in the 2013 Afrobasket championship held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire last month.
Head coach Moise Mutokambali returned home a happier man having accomplished a tough mission in his debut as the national team head coach.
After finishing the group stages behind leaders Tunisia and Morocco with a victory against Burkina Faso and two defeats against the North African sides, Rwanda was eliminated in the final 1/8th Afrobasket 2013 by Senegal (67-57).
Speaking to Rwanda Today, Mutokombali said:
“Our goal was to do better than our performance in Madagascar in 2011. We are pleased with the overall performance. Even with a less effective squad and poor preparations, we faced tough opposition against teams like Senegal and Tunisia, which had good players."
"Our players exhibited much discipline and professionalism despite the defeat.”
“We have shown that Rwanda has potential to play against elite African teams. If the government puts more resources in the sport, one day, Rwanda will be the champion of Fiba Afrobasket. We don’t need to lose hope, but to learn lessons from this competition and start preparing young players for future competitions,” added Mutokambali.
Center Kami Kabange, Thierry Suku Suku, Kenneth Gasana, Hamza Ruhezamihigo and Bradley Cameron are some of the players who played an outstanding role to help Mutokambali’s side claim 10th position in Africa.
The Zone V representatives are yet to put up a better performance than they did at the 2009 edition of the biennial event where Rwanda finished in ninth position in Libya.
Meanwhile, Angola stayed unbeaten through the 2013 FIBA Africa Championship, to book a ticket to the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain, along with runner-up Egypt and third-placers Senegal.
Angola won their 11th continental title in 24 years, thanks to a comprehensive 57-40 defeat of Egypt in the final. The battle for third-place saw Senegal squeak past the Ivory Coast, 57-56.
Angola, Egypt and Senegal join hosts Spain, Olympic gold medalists USA, the three FIBA Asia representatives Iran, Philippines and Korea, and the two Oceania reps Australia and New Zealand.
Currently on-going is the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship, which will see four teams become part of the field.