Kami Kabange, a famous Center in Rwandan basketball who announced his retirement on September 23, told Times Sport that he is very satisfied with what he achieved during his playing career.
The 39-year-old Rwandan international announced his retirement during the 2023 all-star game at BK Arena, concluding a career that spanned more than 12 years, plying his trade with various clubs within the East African region.
“It is very hard to rate myself but so far I am very satisfied with the journey because I was about to play at the highest stages in Africa,” he told Times Sport on Sunday, September 24.
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kabange played for the Rwandan national team. From his debut in Zone 5 in 2009 to clinching the Best Scorer title in 2010 as well as being named the third-best scorer and fifth-best rebounder in Afrobasket 2013, Kabange was a celebrated figure during his peak days.
“In the first place is God who made me reach all my goals and then my family and my wife played a big role in supporting me during times of anxiety, injuries, doubt, and confusion,” he said.
Richard Nyirishema, the Vice President of Ferwaba hands over the gift to Kami Kabange with his family. Courtesy
In addition, he noted, his children were a big inspiration for him because he always tried to make them proud.
“I gave all I could until the last minute of my career so I have no regrets giving all my best I could,” he said.
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2007 – 2011, four memorable seasons at APR
In his debut season, 2007/2008, with the black and white outfit, Kabange helped the club to win the national basketball league, the play-off and the FIBA Africa Zone V Club Championships.
The following year (2009), he led the military side to a successful defence of the regular league and playoffs titles as well as winning the Genocide Memorial Tournament (GMT) to complete a treble of titles that season.
Enjoying his third season, Kabange had already become one of the most celebrated players in the country, leading the foreign players-dominated APR to retain the regular league, the playoffs as well as reclaiming the region’s flagship club tournament, Zone V championship in 2010.
In an eventful 2011 season when the club changed policy to start using mostly Rwandan players, Kabange only managed to win the play-offs trophy with APR, who lost the league title to now-the defunct Kigali Basketball Club.
Later that year, after four years with Owuor’s side, Kabange crossed to APR’s arch-rivals Espoir in what is still regarded as one of the club’s biggest transfer blunders.
One year at Espoir, history for the club
After penning a one-year contract at Espoir, Kabange, who stands at 2.03 meters, resumed from where he had left off with APR, leading the Nyamirambo-based club to their first league and playoff titles in the post-1994 era.
He also contributed to their Zone V Championship triumph in 2012, in Kampala, Uganda after demolishing Burundi’s Urunani in the final showpiece. It is the first and only regional title in the club’s history that stretches back to the 1970s.
Move to Uganda, amazing four years with City Oilers
In early 2013, after playing the FIBA Africa Champions Cup with Espoir in Maputo, Mozambique, Kabange was hijacked by Ugandan giants, City Oilers.
Kabange played four seasons with the Ugandan club, leading them to four consecutive league titles in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. He also won the FIBA Africa Zone V Championship in 2016, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Individual awards with City Oilers
2013 – FUBA MVP and Top Scorer
2013 – USPA Male Basketball Player of the Year
2014 – FUBA Top Scorer
2015 – FUBA MVP and Top Scorer
2015 – USPA Male Basketball Player of the Year
2016 – Member of the team of the tournament in FIBA Zone V Champs
Late 2016, homecoming
After a stellar four-year spell with the two-time reigning Zone V champions, Kabange was approached by then newly-created Rwanda Energy Group (REG), in December 2016.
After nearly two seasons at REG, he has led Cyril Kalima’s team to four trophies – the 2016/2017 league title, the 2017 Genocide Memorial Tournament, the 2018 pre-season tournament as well as the 2018 National Heroes Day tourney.
REG will represent the country in the 2023 FIBA Africa Zone V Club Championships.
Kabange will be aspiring to win the regional tournament for a record fifth time with four different clubs.
Kabange joined Rwanda Energy Group in December 2016.
National team duties
Since his debut international appearance in 2009, Kabange never missed a call-up. For the last 10 years, he has featured more times for the senior men’s national basketball team than any other player.
Kabange helped Rwanda to qualify for the finals of the FIBA African Basketball Championship (men’s Afrobasket) on four occasions; in 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2017.
He also played all the four finals. At the 2013 edition, he was the country’s top rebounder and top scorer of the tournament in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where Rwanda finished tenth.