KAMPALA (FIBA AfroBasket 2017) - The rivalry between Rwanda and Uganda for the supremacy of East African basketball has reached new highs in recent years with the latter continuing to strive like never before.
And, with a place for FIBA AfroBasket 2017 at stake, these two East African giants are likely to face off at some point during the FIBA Africa Zone 5 qualifier.
Kami Kabangu, a Democratic Republic of Congo native who has featured for Rwanda in three editions of the FIBA AfroBasket, dismisses any decline suggestions linked to his national team, insisting basketball officials in the country are regrouping to be back in contention.
The man who joined Uganda champions City Oilers in 2013 following a successful spell with Espoir of Rwanda, said: "The management team of Rwanda basketball is doing a good job, which will allow the national team to keep playing internationally. We will be back for sure."
Having featured a number of naturalised players over the past few years, the Rwandese seem to be transitioning to a new era focusing on the homegrown talent.
As hosts of the 11-team FIBA Africa U18 Championship 2016, Rwanda finished fith last summer, but Kabangu feels Rwandans should remain positive.
"Naturalised players often bring more competitiveness to the team and bring the game high. But we could see how good players [U18 national team] they are, and the future of basketball in Rwanda is great," said the 32-year-old.
"Rwanda is doing a good job by sending young players to the US to improve their skills."