Rwanda national hoops team begun their 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers bid brilliantly defeating hosts Mali 74-70 in the opening game of the first window of the African qualifiers played on Friday night at Palaise Des Sport Salamatou Maiga Stadium in Bamako.
Rwanda started the game on a promising note winning the first quarter 14-12 playing a 17-all draw by half time. The Malians bounced back to win the third quarter with a three-point gap registering 19-16 but Rwanda reorganized and came back in the last quarter strongly to win 27-22 hence registering their first 74-70 win in Group B.
Shooting guard Kenneth Gasana was on fire as he stunned the Malians with his three pointers to amass a total high of 16 points for Rwanda followed by power forward Kami Kabange who scored 13 points whsile center player Kaje scored 9 points respectively.
Mali’s top scorers were small forward Djambo who managed 22 points, Drissa Ballo who scored 14 points and shooting guard Cisse who scored 9 points respectively.
Rwanda captain Rwanda Captain who was full of excitement following the win over Mali said that the victory was as a result of hard work.
“We feel happy to have won and that is because we just played basketball without minding the pedigree of our opponent.” Added Mugabe.
In other game, favourites Nigeria thrashed Uganda 102-86 to go top of the standings with two points and a superior goal difference over Rwanda who also have two points.
In Group D which was underway in Maputo, hosts Mozambique defeated Cote d’Ivoire 65-53 to start their campaign on a positive too note while Senegal edged Central Africa Republic 70-65.
Action continues on Saturday in both Group B and D as Rwanda takes on Nigeria at 15:30 before Mali hosts Uganda in the second game at 18:00, all in Bamako.
In Maputo, Cote d’Ivoire will be up against Senegal while hosts Mozambique will face Central Africa Republic in the second game.
The African Qualifiers consist of 12 tournaments played across six windows. The First Round sees four groups of four teams each. Teams face one another over the course of two legs.
At stake in the African Qualifiers are five tickets on offer for the continent’s countries to reach the first-ever 32-team FIBA Basketball World Cup taking place in China from August 30-September 15, 2019.
FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers
Group B First Leg
Uganda 86-102 Nigeria
Rwanda 74-70 Mali
Group D First Leg
Senegal 70-65 Central African Republic
Mozambique 65-53 Cote d’Ivoire
Saturday, 24 February 2018
Nigeria vs Rwanda (15:30)
Mali vs Uganda (18:00)
Cote d’Ivoire vs Senegal (15:00)
Central African Republic vs Mozambique (17:30)
Sunday, 25th February, 2018
Uganda vs Rwanda (15:30)
Mali vs Nigeria (18:00)
Cote d’Ivoire vs Central African Republic (15:00)
Senegal vs Mozambique (17:30)