Rwanda vs. Burkina Faso 12.30
Tunisia vs. Morocco 20.00
Cameroon vs. DR Congo 15.00hrs
Nigeria vs. Mali 17.30 hrs
THE national men’s senior opens their quest in the 27th edition of the African Basketball Championships when they take on debutants Burkina Faso today at Palaise de Sport Treichvile Abidjan Cote d’Ivoire as the tournament bids to pick one of the three slots to the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Madrid Spain.
The national team which landed in Abidjan over the weekend managed to train on Monday and Tuesday night getting ready for the tricky opening tie today.
Head coach Moise Mutokambali who will be guiding Rwanda to a fourth consecutive appearance since its debut in 2007 is eager to help the nation finish inside the top ten.
He said yesterday, “Our target is to finish in the top ten or even better. We finished 12th in 2011, but this time, we want to do better and finish in top ten.”
“Winning the first game will help boost confidence in the squad as we target to finish second in the group. Players are in good mood and we are well prepared for tomorrow’s (today) match,” added Mutokambali.
After Burkina Faso, Rwanda takes on Morocco on Friday later before facing a stern test against title holders Tunisia on Saturday.
The 16-team tournament, divided in four groups, tipped off on Tuesday in Cote d’Ivoire’s capital city of Abidjan.
The number of African players plying their trade in Europe and the USA has increased astonishingly in the past few years and a great number of them will show what they can do for their national teams at AfroBasket 2013, a qualifying tournament for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.
Players come from the most prestigious basketball leagues in the world including the NBA, Spain’s ACB, France’s Ligue National de Basket, the Greek League, China’s CBA and a lot more bring their USA college experience.
Since the FIBA Basketball World Cup increased the numbers of teams from 16 to 24 in 2006, Africa gained one more place and the top three African teams secure direct qualification to the event.
Intriguingly, the number of potential world cup contenders has doubled with Tunisia, Senegal, Nigeria, Angola, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire on the frontlines.
In Group A, hosts Cote d’Ivoire will take on Egypt, Senegal and Algeria. Angola is in Group C alongside Mozambique, Central African Republic and Cape Verde while in Group D, Nigeria will square off against Cameroon, Mali and Republic of Congo.
Two years ago, Tunisia stunned Angola in the Final of the AfroBasket in Madagascar to claim their first continental title ever.