Uganda men’s national basketball team, Silverbacks will be aiming to qualify for a third straight FIBA AfroBasket tournament when they come up against Morocco in a second window qualifier match today, Thursday, 8th July at the Salle El Bouazzaoui in Sale at 9 PM EAT.
Victory for Uganda will ensure that they qualify for the event proper, FIBA AfroBasket scheduled to be held in Kigali, Rwanda from August 24 to September 5 2021.
During the first window held in Cairo, Egypt in November 2020, Uganda emerged 94-90 winners and would fancy to go at it at again but this time round at Morocco’s own backyard.
Uganda’s Captain Jimmy Enabu is optimistic and positive that his side can book a ticket to the neighboring Kigali as they have already developed a ‘now or never’ mindset.
“Going into one game, you go with the idea of that we don’t have time to grow, it’s one hit and out. No one is really thinking about the next journey so this is very important for us,” Enabu said in an interview with FUBA media, adding that; “coming into this from a successful camp, we are expected to win, we set expectations for ourselves.”
Uganda was meant to play her second window games in February 2021 but positive Covid-19 cases in their camp derailed proceedings and games were rescheduled. However, ahead of today’s tip-off, the team did a PCR test 48 hours before the game and all results for the entire delegation were negative.
“Everyone is healthy, everyone has been putting in the work so we are hoping for the best. We’re leaving nothing to chance,” Enabu added.
Three new players, Ghedi Abdi Hakim Mohamed, Kieran Zziwa and Arthur Kaluma will possibly make their competitive debuts for the national team and Enabu says that the newbies in the team bring a sense of fulfillment to him.
“It’s exciting for me as one of the oldest players on the team to see that there is something good coming from the younger generation. I will tell you that they’re good players and we expect a lot of flair from them,” Enabu added.
If Silverbacks lose to Morocco, they will have to play Cape Verde (away) on 15th July and if triumphant they will qualify for the said finals.
However, if Silverbacks lose all their Group E second window games, it will then go down to goal difference with Morocco needing a +8 win over Uganda while Cape Verde need a +6 win to come atop Uganda. Egypt is already qualified for the finals but the top three teams from each group and a wildcard will form the 16 teams that will qualify for Afrobasket finals.
In the first qualifying window, Uganda picked two wins from three games; losing 96-77 to hosts Egypt and beating Morocco and Cape Verde 94-90 and 101-98 respectively.
Uganda’s Afrobasket Qualifiers Team:
Jimmy Enabu (City Oilers), James Okello (City Oilers), Tonny Drileba (City Oilers), Benjamin Komakech (City Oilers), Titus Odeke (UCU Canons), Ronson Odoch Opong (Canada), Eric Rwahwire (Canada), Keiran Zziwa (Canada), Ghedi Muhamed (USA), Geu Dengeu John (Denmark), Ishmail Wainright (France) and Arthur Kaluma (USA).
George Galanopoulos, Mandy Juruni, Michael Schmitz and Andrew Tendo Senyondwa.