BY BONNIE MUGABE
RWANDA is stepping up the gear in her bid to host the 2013 FIBA Africa Basketball Championship for men, President of Rwanda Basketball Federation, Lt. Eric Salongo Kalisa has said.
Kalisa, who played a crucial role in convincing top officials of the continental body to bring the club championship in Kigali, said on Tuesday night that the African body, Fiba-Africa is very receptive of Rwanda’s bid to host the biennial championship.
“FIBA Africa has welcomed our bid to host the 2013 African Championship after hosting a successful 2009 Africa Club Champions Cup.
“We have the ability to host the tournament considering that FIBA-Africa has given us a nod to host it,” Kalisa said.
The youthful administrator said the plan is to bid and host the 2013 Afrobasket for men as they have set out a four year plan to achieve that goal.
“Our ambition as a federation and as a country is to stage the biggest basketball competition in Africa, the FIBA Africa Championship for Men,”
“We can assure the continental ruling body that the government is strongly behind our plan and we are set to build a new and bigger court,” Kalisa added.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports and Culture (Minispoc), Jean Pierre Karabaranga has promised support from the government to facilitate the construction of another gymnasium ahead of the 2013 Fiba Africa Championship.
“Hosting a continental championship is the responsibility of the government therefore we are willing to work on our infrastructures before hosting the tournament,” Karabaranga said.
Meanwhile, Nigeria has made a bid to host the 2011 African Basketball Championship for Men.
Nigeria will however face stiff competition from two other African countries, West African neighbours, Cote d’Ivoire and Madagascar host of the 2009 FIBA Africa Championship for Women.
The winners of the 2011 Afrobasket tournament will represent Africa at the 2012 London Olympic Games.