Sports

Rwanda: FIBA U16 Championship – Rwanda, Egypt Square Off in Boys’ Quarter-Finals


Quarter — Following the conclusion of the group games of the FIBA 2023 FIBA U16 African Championship, the team return to the floor for the quarterfinals on Wednesday evening where Morocco take on favorites Mali while Cote d’Ivoire go head to head with Guinea.

Meanwhile, Rwanda U16 boys will have their quarterfinal turn on Thursday, when they square off with continental giants Egypt while Chad have been matched with Angola.

Rwanda won two games out of their four Group A games, finishing the group stages with 6 points. Great performances from captain Sean Williams Mwesigwa, Ricardo Gomez and Kenrik Kabano as well as Joseph Nshimiye were important during Rwanda’s group stage journey, and the players are expected to be crucial in the Egypt encounter.

As for Egypt, they lost only one game in the group stages, 78-83 against Guinea. The 5-time champions Egypt are considered one of the title favourites. Their key players like Anas Mohamed, Mohamed Wael, Ali Assran and Youssef Elhalawany are some of those that may give Rwanda a serious headache.

Other quarterfinal matches

Morocco Vs Mali

The Atlas Lions of Morocco finished in fourth place on the log in Group B with a 1-3 record that saw them tied with Uganda on 5 points only for the former to advance to last eight with a better deficit of -55 against Uganda’s -132. They face title contenders Mali who finished top of Group A with the maximum 8 points from four games.

Morocco Coach, Mohamed Nizar Mesbahi will be relying on the forms of team captain Rayane Solhi and Mohamed Ragragui to execute the damage on Mali with support from Omar Karem. These three players have been outstanding even in their three losses but they will look forward to boosting their chances against a strong Mali side.

Mali, on the other hand, saw off every opposition in Group A with a 100 percent record.

They scored a total of 292 points and conceded 206 winning 72-49, 76-72, 67-43 and 77-42 against Cote d’Ivoire, Rwanda, Angola and host Tunisia respectively.

This is a game that Mali coach Mamoutou Kane will not take lightly knowing the implication of what a defeat in the hands of Morocco will mean to their title ambition.

Having reached the final in the last two editions of the championship in Praia 2019 and Cairo 2021, Mali have their eyes set on the ultimate prize.

To shake off Morocco, the quartet of Sidy Toure, Chectare Baradji, Mamadou Diarra and Mahamadou Diop will have to combine well to ensure victory for the West African nation.

Côte d’Ivoire Vs Guinea

Cote d’Ivoire will be in a tough battle against a rampaging Guinea side that has refused to back down to any opponent. The Ivorians enter this game with ambitions to improve their below par performance in the group stages after which they finished fourth in Group A with a 1-3 record for 5 points.

The team took a 90-68 win over host Tunisia in the third game but lost the other three. They are powered by Konan Koffi, Sedji Tedje and Mamadou Sako.

Coach Eloi Ngardinga and his technical team will need to find means to stop Guinea who finished at the summit of Group B after a 3-0 unbeaten run with a maximum 8 points from four group games.

Guinea made a mincemeat of Uganda in their last Group game winning 100-52 to send a warning signal that they are still burning hot and ready to play.

Araphane Diane, the Guinea center, leaves no one in doubt about his love for rebounds. Other players to worry about on the Guinea team are Sekou Toure, Nour Gassim Toure, Mohamed Lamine and Gassim Savane.

Chad Vs Angola

The last time Chad appeared in this championship, they finished in fourth place and, though they lost the last game 83-70 to Egypt on Tuesday, Coach Belemgote Mdoumbe believes that, if his boys keep their heads down and take instructions, then they could as well shock Angola.