28 November 2007

RWANDA : Another year goes begging for Espoir


Last Sunday summed up what is yet another difficult year for Espoir, one of Rwanda’s traditional basketball giants.

Similar to the difficulties of the last two years, 2007 would go down the club history books as yet another trophy-less years.
The 2004 national basketball league champions blew their title hopes away after crushing out of the play-offs to league debutants CSK A.

After their perennial rivals APR failed to qualify for the play-offs, the first time in their history, Espoir, with new Norman Blick, were tipped to have a real go to this year’s title but shockingly to their fans, that wasn’t to be.

Despite a superior play-offs record over their opponents, the Nyamirambo based club found themselves on the back foot as the league debutants registered back to back wins to halt their older rivals’ chances.

After a 62-56 win in the first game, CSK A led by their point guards Crispin Gishoma and Gerol Ndugu topped up that show with a yet another 84-76 win to send Espoir crushing out of the play-offs.

Since 2004, Espoir has been second best to APR who have taken absolute control of the game thanks in part to their Kenyan coach Cliff Owuor.
On top of having new clubs at this year’s play-offs final, 2007 has also gone down into Rwanda’s basketball history books as the first year where both Espoir and APR have not featured in the final.

Espoir’s captain and assistant coach Didier Mushumba has blamed the club’s recent poor run to shortage of players.
“We don’t have many local players at our disposal yet foreign players who can easily be accessed are costly.

They are expensive to sign because the club runs on a small budget.
“We don’t have the resources like APR to freely sign foreign players,” Mushumba stated.

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