After parting ways with Serbian Vladimir Bosnjak who resigned from his position as head coach, the Rwanda Basketball Federation (Ferwaba) appointed Tanzanian tactician Henry Mwinuka to replace him on an interim basis in December 2020.
Mwinuka's appointment came at a time when the team seeks to strengthen their preparedness for next month's Afrobasket window 2 qualifiers, having put up an abysmal performance in window 1 that was held in Kigali in November 2020.
Times sport takes a look at the work awaiting Mwinuka.
Putting up a good performance at the Afrobasket qualifiers
Mwinuka will lead the national team into the qualifiers' window 2 scheduled between February 17 to 21 in Tunisia, and he will be assisted by Karim Nkusi, former APR basketball team head coach.
The two have a big task going into the competition, as they need to help the team recover from a poor show in window 1 where Rwanda - the host nation failed to register a single win, and finished at the bottom of Group D having been subjected to three defeats out of the three matches it played in the tournament.
Commenting on this task, Maxime Mwiseneza the Assistant Coach of Rwanda Energy Group (REG) Basketball Team told Times Sport said Mwinuka has to restore confidence in the players.
"Due to his extensive experience here in Rwanda, it will not be difficult for him. He has coached many of the players on club level, and they understand him very much," he said.
Building a good relationship with national team players
Mwinuka also needs to relate with the players better than his predecessor who is reported to have been aloof.
Olivier Shyaka, the captain of the national basketball team says Mwinuka has a good personality and will get close to the players to discuss with them, or give them advice.
Transform winning streak to national team
The Tanzania-born tactician won three league titles in four seasons with Patriots before crossing to arch-rivals Rwanda Energy Group in 2019.
Mwinuka was the coach of the University of Dar-es-Salaam Basketball Club from 2003-2006 and Savio Basketball Club in 2007-2008.
He was also assistant coach of the Tanzania national team between 2009 and 2010 as well as head coach of Kampala International University from 2011-2015, before joining Patriots as assistant coach.
He will be required to leverage this experience and winning streak to the national team duties, and try to replicate the winning streak he accomplished in previous assignments.