FORTNIGHT AGO, veteran basketball player Aristide Mugabe retired from international basketball at 34, ending an 11-year career with the national team.
The point guard, who currently plays for the Patriots at club level, received a standing ovation the following day as he officially bid farewell to basketball fans in the BK Arena in the Cup playoff opener FIBA World Cup between hosts Rwanda and the South. Sudan.
Mugabe’s contribution to the national team has been described by many as “outstanding” and his leadership on and off the pitch inspired many young basketball players who grew up watching him.
Reflecting on his service to the national team, the point guard said he did everything he could to make his country proud, a character he believes will always define him until the end of his playing career. basketball as a player at the club level.
“I think I did my best, with the opportunity given to me, every chance given to me to get on the pitch, I gave it my all,” he said. . Times Sports.
In his prime, he was one of the key players for the national team, making important plays on the pitch and was captain from 2013 to 2019.
He participated in three Afrobasket tournaments in 2011, 2013 and 2017.
He made his last appearance for the national team in March this year in the first window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers held in Dakar, Senegal in March.
But what prompted him to retire from the national team? Mugabe said 11 years on the court was enough for him to hand over to the younger generation where he ended up continuing to fight for the country’s basketball pride on the international stage.
The veteran revealed that it took him three years to think about retiring from the national team until he made his final decision in June.
“It took me three years. I felt it was time for me to do it, it was not an easy decision to make but it was a chapter that needed to be closed,” he said. he declares.
Basketball enthusiasts might have wished to see Mugabe play more international basketball with the national team, but the 34-year-old insists his retirement is a perfect time for him as a player and as a than anyone.
“I think it was God’s timing,” he said.
While considered by many to be one of the greatest basketball players the country has ever produced, Mugabe, who captained the national team between 2013 and 2019, has only fond memories in the shirt. of the national team for which he produced the best performances at his peak.
“My best moment? The 2011 [Afrobasket] Zone 5 qualifiers played in Kigali and in 2018 in the World Cup qualifiers when we beat Mali twice and Uganda after a long loss to Uganda,” Mugabe recalled.
His biggest disappointment?
“All the time I haven’t been called up for the 2019-2021 national team and haven’t participated in Afrobasket 2021,” he said.
And then ?
Mugabe is now focused on helping his club, the Patriots, win the 2022 basketball league and help the team secure a ticket to the Basketball Africa League which they played in 2021.
The player did not rule out any possibility of switching to a coaching career when asked what the future holds for him once his retirement from basketball as a player at club level is decided.
“I can’t say now, but I still play at the club level. Coaching? Maybe, but I would like to do different things, but it will help the growth of basketball,” he said. declared.