Rwanda team may have lost their chance to qualify for the FIBA basketball World Cup 2019 in China but head coach Vladimir Bosnjak says they are out to seek better rankings as they head to Abidjan to meet Senegal on Friday.

The team, which stopped in Nairobi on transit to Abidjan on Wednesday night, believes they have a strong squad to challenge for the win.


Six teams – Nigeria, Rwanda, Mali, Senegal, Central African Republic and hosts Cote d’Ivoire – will do battle for Group F’s last action in Abidjan from Friday to Sunday.

Two last FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 tickets are still up for grabs in Africa with four teams, Central African Republic (CAF), Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire or Cameroon, able to claim the berths to play in the finals in China. Already Angola, Nigeria and Tunisia have secured their tickets to the 2019 China World Cup finals.

Bosnjak, a Serbian coach, said Rwanda team head to Abidjan with a 3-6 record thanks to wins over Mali (twice) and Uganda.

“Our target is to win at least one game and to be in the top eight in the final ranking,” Bosnjak said in Nairobi.

Rwanda have been holding a training camp for almost a month and Bosnjak said they intended to delay or make Senegal’s World Cup aspirations a little harder.

“It is true we have no chance to make it to China for the World Cup finals, but we want to make it harder for our opponents,” he said.

Bosnjak named a strong team, which includes Olivier Shyaka as the team captain while veteran Aristide Mugabe has been left in Kigali and is skipping the trip to Abidjan.

“We also want to target refreshing our roster and involve some younger players to have a bigger role in our national team performance,” said Bosnjak.

Hosts Cote d’Ivoire, nicknamed The ‘Elephants’, share the third place of the group with Central Africa Republic with 13 points, which resulted from four wins in nine games each.

However, for Cote d’Ivoire to become one of the five African countries for the 32-team FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China, they need to do the math.

Cote d’Ivoire head coach Paolo Povia, speaking to FIBA said qualifying to China was not impossible.

The Ivorians would secure a spot in the World Cup as the second-placed team in Group F if they win their last three games and Senegal lose their last three games.

It’s been almost nine years since Cote d’Ivoire last appeared at the World Cup in Turkey where they won one of their five games. Cote d’Ivoire made their World Cup debut in Spain in 1995 where they lost all five games. Enditem


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