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Irankunda crowned MVP

Cynthia Irankunda, a second year student at USIU-Africa had a brilliant 2013 season which she capped with the Most Valuable Player title awarded during the recently-concluded Zuku Basketball League.

The petite Burundian star stole the show during the final against Maseno University, amassing 21 points and 24 rebounds in their 82-38 victory. Her quick, slithery runs won her a Sh5 million scholarship donated by Hollywood actor Samuel Jackson.

The 22-year-old was born in Ngozi, Burundi, and played football during  her childhood and primary school days.

Shortly after joining Ngozi High School in Burundi, she took a keen interest in basketball after watching her elder brother play.

In no time, she learnt the ropes from him, and quickly made a full switch to basketball. “It just felt more fun and became  my favourite sport,” she said.

Learn English

“I still enjoy watching football, but rarely get time to play the game. In 2009,  when I moved to Kenya I had to learn English before joining Tigoi High School. In Burundi, schools teach in French,” Irankunda said.

In 2010, the player joined Tigoi in Form Three and her impact was immediate, as she guided the team not only to the national basketball title, but also the East Africa Games crown in Nakuru.

Irankunda said that is the moment she is proud of in her career.

Thereafter she got interest from  scouts of several Premier League clubs, among them USIU’s Sports Director, Bonfas Salano. Irankunda  opted to join USIU after being offered a 40 per cent scholarship.

While waiting to join the Thika Road based university, she opted to join Western Delight.