8 September 2017

Rwanda Faces Equatorial Guinea in Group C Opener

The 24th edition of the FIBA Africa Basketball Championships (Afrobasket) for Men gets underway today and will run through September 16 in Senegal and Tunisia.

For the first time, Africa's biggest basketball tournament will have two host countries. Senegal will host Group B and Group D games, while Group A and Group C will play in Tunisia as well as all knock-outs from the last 8 stage.

Rwanda will be seeking to start on a high when they face debutants Equatorial Guinea in Group C opening game, starting at 2:30pm Rwandan time.

Elsewhere in the same group, hosts Tunisia will be up against Cameroon, at 6pm.

Making a fifth appearance at the continent's flagship basketball competition, Mutokambali's team has set a target of making it to the knock -out stages.

Rwanda has never gone past group stages since the debut appearance in 2007, in Angola.

The national team trained together for four weeks at Amahoro Indoor Stadium before traveling to Sousse, Tunisia on August 26 for final preparations and they also played three warm-up games, winning one and losing two.

The team concluded their preparations on Tuesday night before heading to Tunis on Wednesday morning to fight for a spot in the quarter-finals of the 10-day continental showpiece.

"We need to start the competition on a high; victory against Guinea would instill more confidence in players going into the next games. We've had good preparations and I think we are ready to give our best to achieve our goals," Mutokambali told Times Sport on Thursday.

Asked about his opponents, Guinea, the 36-year-old trainer said ," Guinea is a good team and is very physical. I have had a chance to watch videos of some of their games and studied their style very well, so we know what to expect in Friday's game."

Out of the 13 players on Mutokambali's squad in Tunis, seven were on the team that featured at the 2013 edition in Ivory Coast where Rwanda finished in 10th place.

How does Guinea compare to Rwanda?

While Rwanda is making her fifth appearance at the finals tournament, their opponents Equatorial Guinea are making their debut.

Equatorial Guinea joined the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) in 1994 while Rwanda was affiliated, in 1973.

On the debut appearance in 2007, Rwanda finished 12th out of 16 countries, managing only one win out of 7 games. The two countries have never met before in any basketball competition.

Friday

Preliminary round

Group A

DR Congo vs Mali 11am ST-Sports Focus

Nigeria vs Cote D'Ivoire 7:30pm ST-Sports Premium

Group B

CAR vs Morocco 3pm ST-Sports Premium

Angola vs Uganda 9pm ST-Sports Focus

Group C

Guinea vs Rwanda 1:30pm ST-Sports Focus

Tunisia vs Cameroon 5pm ST-Sports Premium

Group D

Mozambique vs Egypt 11:30am ST-Sports Premium

Senegal vs South Africa 6:30pm ST-Sports Focus

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