19 October 2017

Rwanda: Hoops Talent Search Clinic Targets Teens

National basketball team players Hamza Ruhezamihigo and Lionel Hakizimana are holding training clinics for young basketball players around the country to harness raw talent.

In an interview with Times Sport, Ruhezamihigo said he wants to help the next generation of players get basic skills of the game, and also popularise basketball across the country.

The 32-year-old shooting guard, who plays for Canada's New Direction, was part of the national basketball team that took part in the FIBA Afrobasket tourney in Tunisia.

"It's just something that I've always wanted to do for the love and passion of the game, as well as teaching the next generation what I know in order to provide them with more opportunities to reach their goals and become better human beings," he said.

The programme, dubbed HR Training, targets different age groups especially at the grassroots. Young boys between the ages of 5-8, 8-11 and 12-18 will benefit from the programme. They also intend to approach the under 16s and under 18s national teams, both the boys and girls teams.

"I have two professional basketball coaches on my team from Canada. Last year I was assisted by a couple of local coaches. This time around it was my friend and teammate Lionnel Hakizimana with whom I share the same passion and vision," he added.

"Last summer we had clinics with three different groups including the boys' under 18 national team at Amahoro indoor stadium. The clinic we just did was at New Life Christian Academy in Kayonza with the girls and boys teams," he added.

Former Most Valuable Player (MVP) Lionel Hakizimana who last season joined champions Patriots Basketball Club from rivals Espoir BBC says that they are committed to even use their own money to fund the programme as they source for sponsorship.

"The funding for these clinics comes from fundraising from family and friends, and personal investments. HR Training is looking for sponsors and potential partnership in order to grow the project bigger across the country,"

Hakizimana who last played for the national team in 2014 clarified that he has not retired from the national side and will be available if the coach selects him.

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