23 February 2018

Rwanda Face Mali in Fiba Qualifiers Today

The national basketball team (Men) is keen on putting up a good fight to avoid a first round exit in the qualifiers of the 2019 FIBA World Championship.

Rwanda will start their qualifiers campaign against giants of Mali today before taking on Nigeria tomorrow.

The first round of qualifiers is scheduled for February 23-25 in the Malian capital - Bamako. Rwanda has been drawn in a deadly Group B alongside former African champions Nigeria, host Mali and neighbours Uganda.

Moise Mutokambali's team, which is captained by Patriots guard Aristide Mugabe, will face Uganda in their last game on February 25.

Mutokambali named a blend of experience and debutants on the 12-man team that traveled to Mali on Tuesday night. Among the debutants is IPRC- South skipper Bienvenu Niyonsaba.

"I am happy to make my first international appearance with the national team. But most importantly, I look forward to contributing as much as I can for us to be able to advance to the next round of qualifiers," Niyonsaba told Times Sport.

In the last three years, Rwanda and Uganda have faced-off twice and the later won both meetings-in 2015 and 2017 qualifiers of the FIBA Africa Basketball Championship.

Mutokambali, whose team only comprises of two foreign-based players; former skipper Hamza Ruhezamihigo and Kenneth Gasana has also some of the famous names such as; Olivier Shyaka, Kami Kabange, Ali Kazingufu Kubwimana and shooting guard Chris Walter Nkurunziza.

African Qualifiers consist of 12 tournaments played across six windows. The First Round will see four groups of four teams each face one another over two legs. The top three teams from each group will advance to the Second Round, where the 12 qualified teams are divided into two groups (E and F) of 6 teams each.

At the 2019 FIBA World Cup, scheduled for August 31 - September 15 in China, Africa will be represented by five countries, an increase from the usual three teams. The total number of teams has also stretched from 24 to 32 countries.

Rwanda's fixtures

Feb, 23

Mali Vs Rwanda

Feb, 24

Nigeria Vs Rwanda

Feb, 25

Rwanda Vs Uganda


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