South Sudan thrashed Rwanda 67-55 while Nigeria beat Mali 91-68 as the 2021 African Basketball Championship (Afrobasket) qualifiers wrapped up on Sunday evening in the Rwandan capital city of Kigali.

The tournament, running from November 25 to 29 in Kigali, featured teams of Groups A, B and D from 12 countries and regions. Group E competed in the Egyptian city of Alexandria from November 27 to 29.

Group C, which comprised Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea, played in Yaounde in February.

The top three teams from the qualifiers will join Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea, who have already qualified for the Afrobasket finals to take place from August 24 to September 5, 2021 in Rwanda.

Mali initially dominated their game, taking a 16-13 lead against Nigeria in the first quarter before the game changed in the remaining three quarters by 15-26, 20-22 and 17-30 to end on a high note for the Nigerians.

Nigeria’s top performer, Ike Iroegbu contributed 17 points, six assists and three rebounds to inspire his side to a deserved win against the Malians.

The result means Nigeria won three consecutive games in their group. Rwanda lost all its three games against Mali, Nigeria and South Sudan, but the central African nation has an automatic ticket to the 2021 Afrobasket finals tournament as host nation.

Earlier in the day, Group A’s Tunisia played their last game of the tournament, beating Central African Republic 80-63 to come out undefeated in the tournament, while the Democratic Republic of Congo beat Madagascar 82-64.

Tunisia won all its three games to lead the group and qualify for the finals alongside DR Congo and Central Africa Republic, while Group B’s Senegal, Angola and Kenya also won their tickets to the competition.

Rwandan president Paul Kagame watched his home team’s game against South Sudan along with Minister of Sports Aurore Mimosa and president of Rwanda Basketball Federation Desire Mugwiza.

Elsewhere, Egypt topped Group E after winning all its qualifiers in Alexandria, to be joined at the tournament by Uganda and Cape Verde.

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