On his Silverbacks (Uganda men’s national basketball team) debut, power forward Arthur Kaluma shot a game-high 20 points, made five rebounds and two steals as his side beat Morocco 77-65 at the Salle El Bouazzaoui in Sale on Thursday night to qualify for a third straight FIBA AfroBasket tournament.
Kaluma who recently commited to Creighton College in the USA was one of the three players to earn a maiden Silverbacks call up prior to the Morocco AfroBasket qualifier (second window) engagement and the 19-year old came off the bench to announce his arrival with a man-of-the-match performance.
“It was a crazy win. I had so much fun with the guys. Being able to hoop is an amazing experience,” Kaluma said in a post match interview with FUBA media adding that; “being able to get this team to AfroBasket is even a better feeling that I can’t explain.”
“I really love this team and the people around it and I’m so excited to get to AfroBasket,” Kaluma said.
Kaluma who shot 10 of his 20 points in the last five minutes of the game was one of the youngest players in the arena. He says that he isn’t bullied by the sight of senior rival charges because on court their are no inferiors unless one decides to voluntarily throw in the towel.
Ahead of the AfroBasket, Kaluma who is most likely going to be called up again says that the Silverbacks fans should be expectant as he is set to put up a good show on his debut at the continental level.
“Fans should expect the same thing or better, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be better because I’m going to keep working and make sure we make it, I promise you (the fans) and I appreciate your praises,” Kaluma noted.
At the AfroBasket scheduled to be held in Kigali, Rwanda from August 24 to September 5 2021, Uganda are seeded in Group D with Senegal, Cameroon and South Sudan, who had all qualified for the event awhile ago.
Uganda who had won two games and lost one in the first AfroBasket qualifying window in November 2020 (losing 96-77 to hosts Egypt and beating Morocco and Cape Verde 94-90 and 101-98 respectively) finished second in Group E.
First placed Egypt already qualified for the Kigali event and they will be joined by Cape Verde who finished third in Group E, while Morroco fail to make it to the AfroBasket after finishing at the rock bottom of the group.
There were five qualifying groups and the top three from each group and a wildcard formed the 16 teams that qualified for the FIBA Afrobasket.