The New Times (Kigali)

18 February 2013

Rwanda: Espoir Lift Basketball League Title

Unbeaten Espoir celebrated their fourth national basketball league regular season title after trouncing 30-Plus 133-30 on Sunday at the latter's home court at Kimisagara Youth Centre.

Bievunue Ngandu scored a game high 28 points and was ably supported by Aristide Mugabe, who has 25 points as the runaway champions won their first league title since 2004.

The Nyamirambo-based outfit won all their 15 league games to remain the only unbeaten team this season, and they could make 16 straight wins, a record for any Rwandan league champions if they win their last game against last year's champions KBC on Saturday.

It has been a long nine years of waiting for one of the country's oldest club and according to head coach Jean Bahufite, who was a player then, it's a dream come true for him and his players.

"I am extremely happy with how we have played this season. You can say we have been on a higher level than our rivals. All along, I was confident we would win the league, we started well and remain unbeaten with only one game left," the 34-year old Bahufite told Times Sport.

"We have been unstoppable this season and I'm hoping the team will transfer that form and winning mentality in the African Club Championship," said the soft-spoken coach.

He added, "Right from the start, our target was to try and finish the regular season unbeaten.

Which we are only one win away from achieving, but now that the title is in the bag, we can turn focus on playoffs."

In the last couple of years, Espoir, who were a major force in the 90s and early 2000s, have struggled to compete with the big teams APR, CSK and KBC, but after making a few good signings coming into this season everything seems to have fallen in place for them.

In August 2012, Espoir claimed the Zone 5 Club Championships held in Uganda after beating Urunani BBC of Burundi in the men's final.

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