Rwanda’s Afro-CAN Qualifiers unbeaten run came to an end following Wednesday’s 52-53 defeat to Burundi in an entertaining match held at the Benjamin Mkapa Indoor Court in Dar Es Salaam.
Cheikh Sarr’s side was unbeaten during their previous games and were on the verge of finishing at the summit of the round robin games with victory over Burundi but Guibert Nijimbere and his teammates came to the party and beat them in the last seconds to spoil their run.
Cheikh Sarr’s side started well with first two-quarters 18-15 and 18-16 to go into halftime with a 36-31 lead.
Returning for the second half, Rwanda continued to show energy, taking the third quarter 10-8 but Burundi bounced back to win last quarter 14-6 that saw them secure a crucial victory leading by one point.
Point guard Jean-Jacques Wilson Nshobozwabyosenumukiza scored a game high 18 points, Osborn Shema and Ntore Habimana added 9 and 6 points respectively. The trio pressed high to force a win for Rwanda but the Burundians looked more motivated in the last quarter to take home the result.
The victory saw Burundi finish the round robin games unbeaten, hence leading the table with 8 points out four victories in as many games, a point clear of Rwanda who dropped to the second place with 7 points after the defeat. The pair is now set for a replay in the final slated for Friday, June 23.
The winner will book a ticket to the Afro-CAN finals, a 12-nation tournament that will take place in Luanda, Angola, from July 7-16.
Afro-CAN is a continental basketball tournament that focuses on promoting players that play in Africa. The competition allows national teams to summon a roster that comprises only two overseas-based players, while the rest of the ten should be based on the continent.
Rwanda 52-53 Burundi
Source: The New Times