Rwanda's afrobasket boss decries ‘neglect’ of the national team by ministry

Friday July 26 2013

Pascal Karekezi (with the ball), who is a key player in the national team to the upcoming Fiba AfroBasket championship. Photo/Brian Mugume

Rwanda Basketball Federation has warned that rugged preparations will hinder the hoops’ ambitions of staging a successful Fiba Afrobasket championship in Cote d’Ivoire.

With barely three weeks to Africa’s major basketball event, residential training for the senior men’s team is not up to scratch, according to Desire Mugwiza, the federation chief.

“The team is undergoing poor preparations,” Mugwiza told Rwanda Today. “We have not received even basic financial support from the Ministry of Sports and Culture as is usual.

“As a federation, we are meeting every financial need of the national team and the way it has been neglected, it will have a tough time in Abidjan.

Double standards

“We have failed to arrange for the team’s training camp. The cost of accommodation and airfare for professional players and local transport as well as basic needs is met by the federation — unlike before when preparations for the national team were funded by the ministry.”


Mugwiza lamented that the national football team, Amavubi Stars, which is preparing for the CHAN second leg tie against Ethiopia on July 27, has had their preparations organised by the Ministry of Sports while his team, which he said is “more promising”, has been neglected.

Congested hotel

Amavubi are staying at the five-star Belvedere Hotel as they train at Rubavu Stadium whereas their basketball counterparts are accommodated in a congested Hill Top Hotel, he added.

The basketball team has been training twice a day at Amahoro National Stadium.

Emmanuel Bugingo, the Director of Sports in the ministry, however said the basketball team has not been given money because of delay in budgetary allocations.

Team not planned for

“The budget for the 2012/13 financial year closed in late June and we received the budget request for the basketball team in early July,” said Bugingo.

“At that time, there was nothing we could have done because we had not planned for the African event owing to the fact that they secured qualification in March.

“Unlike other federations — such as Ferwafa — where we have their events planned earlier, in the case of basketball, the African event was never included in the budget.”

Bugingo added: “For the 2013/14 financial year, we agreed to offer them financial support but this has not been possible because the Finance Ministry has not yet even released the little budget (estimated to be about Rwf1.5 billion) that they approved,”

Head coach Moise Mutokambali however has his eyes firmly on the ball despite the frustrations. He wants his youthful side to improve on its overall performance and at least finish inside the top 10.

(Read: Rwanda take shot at Afrobasket)

“I know the problems at hand but we can do nothing about it apart from training hard and praying that we get past the group stages,” said Mutokambali, whose team’s training camp in Senegal was called off due to financial constraints.