2021 FIBA AfroBasket
Sunday, 29th August
South Sudan 88-86 Uganda
@Kigali Arena, Rwanda
Uganda men’s senior national basketball team, Silverbacks on Sunday evening lost 88-86 to South Sudan in their final group stage game of the 2021 FIBA AfroBasket tournament at Kigali Arena in Rwanda.
The loss to South Sudan means that Uganda finish third in Group D after registering one win (against Cameroon). Uganda will on Tuesday play Nigeria who finished second in Group C for a place in the quarter finals.
Against South Sudan, Uganda’s Head Coach George Galanopoulos says that his side put up a good show albeit finishing on a losing note.
“It was a great game, really a fun game to be part of…lots of ups and downs. We’re disappointed in the result but not disappointed in effort. There are somethings that we can get better at,” Galanopoulos told FUBA media.
South Sudan claimed a 26-21 lead in the first quarter and stretched it to 50-44 in the second quarter. Uganda evened scores 65-all in the third quarter but South Sudan stretched to the limit to win the game 88-86.
“I thought we put ourselves in a bad way in the first half but we still kept it close,” Galanopoulos said adding that; “we got to work on defense and communication because we didn’t stick to our principles. We shall watch the film and talk about it, we will correct those things.”
With a triple-double of 22 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, Ishmail Wainright who plays for NBA side Toronto Raptors was Uganda’s top performer with an efficiency of +30 and 2 steals.
Arthur Kaluma and Adam Seiko scored 14 points each for Uganda. Robinson Opong had 17 points while John Deng Geu scored 11 points.
For South Sudan, Dhieu Abwok Deing led the way with 22 points, Mathiang Mauot Muo had 17 points while Deng Acuoth and Kuany Ngor managed 13 points each.
South Sudan finish second in the group and will face Kenya on Tuesday for a place in the quarters. Cameroon trail and are out of the competition. Senegal are through to the quarters after finishing atop the group.
For Uganda’s case, as they prepare for Nigeria, Galanopoulos is optimistic that his side will upset the odds and make it to the next stage of the championship.
“This team responds to adversity and I think we still have an opportunity to qualify for the quarter finals,” Galanopoulos admitted adding that Nigeria is a worthy opponent and they will scout them to give Silverbacks information they need to be successful.
Though they’re not satisfied with the results so far, Galanopoulos says that they’re humbled to be part of the tournament.
This is Uganda’s third appearance at the AfroBasket having qualified for and competed at the last two tournaments – Tunisia 2015 and Senegal/Tunisia 2017.