Rwanda started their 2023 FIBA Afro-CAN campaign on low note after losing 61-67 in Saturday’s Group C opening game held at Arena Kilamba in Luanda, Angola.
Coach Yves Murenzi’s had a slow start to the game, losing the first quarter of 10-22 but foutght back to win the second quarter with 16-14 and reduce Tunisians’ lead to 10 points before the pair went for half time break.
Back in second half, Rwanda continued to dominate the game with excellent displays from the likes of small forward Dieudonné Ndizeye and Kendall Grey who helped their team win third quarter 22-10 to level the scores 48-48.
But it was the Tunisians who finished at the top as their metallic defense frustrated Rwandan shooters like Jean Jacques Nshobozwabyosenumukiza from scoring.
Tunisia won the last quarter 21-13 and took home the victory with 61-67.
Ndizeye grabbed 16 points while Dan Manzi and Ntore Habimana added 14 and 9 points respectively.
Rwanda can still keep their chances of progressing to the AfroCAN next round alive if they beat Morocco in Sunday’s ‘do or die’ clash.
Teams are divided into four groups of three teams each. The teams that finish in the first places of Groups A,B,Cand D qualify directly to the Quarter-Finals.
The teams that finish in second and third places of each group will have a second chance to remain in competition by playing the Qualification Round to the Quarter-Finals, where the losing teams will be eliminated.
The four semifinalists qualify automatically to the 2027 FIBA AfroCan while the losing teams of the Quarter-Finals will compete for the Fifth to Eight-Place in the Classification Round.