The Uganda men’s national basketball team, the Silverbacks has been flagged off to Tunisia where they will represent the country in the second window of the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 qualifiers slated for the 18th to 21st February in Monastir, Tunisia.
Following a six-week intense training camp for the home-based players, 13 made the cut to the team and these include Ben Komakech (City Oilers), Tony Drileba (City Oilers), Fayed Bbale (UCU Canons), Jimmy Abraham Enabu (City Oilers), Joseph Ikong Anyuru (Power), James Okello (City Oilers), Titus Lual Odeke (UCU Canons) and Cesar Kizito (Sharing Youth Saints).
The team of locally-based players headed by national team assistant coach Mande Juruni and skipper Jimmy Enabu were flagged off by National Council of Sports board chairman Donald Rukare in the company of General Secretary Patrick Ogwel among others.
Ogwel said the trip is funded by the government of Uganda;
“This particular trip is funded by the government of Uganda. We have approved a total of shs334 million for the Tunisia trip. We, therefore, don’t have any doubt for our team in terms of logistics they might need for their participation. On behalf of my team at the National Council of Sports, I wish the national team success.”
Uganda was Drawn in group E with Egypt, Morocco and Cape Verde. The Silverbacks are currently second with five points in the group topped by Egypt who ave six points after the first qualifying window.
Assistant coach Mandy Juruni is aware of the task that lies ahead and had this to say.
“Players are always ready to play against any team. We are very confident in the abilities that we have. As much as we respect them(other teams), they also respect us. We have already played the first window and we have managed to win two out of three and so I believe they don’t look at Uganda as a small team and that’s a very good thing for us. It’s all about belief, focus and preparation and we have done that very well,”he said
This will be the final window of the FIBA Afro basket 2021 qualifiers and the silverbacks will be looking to book a slot in the final championship which will be held in August, in the Rwandan capital Kigali.
The local-based contingent that departed today aboard Emirates airlines will join the foreign-based players in Tunisia who include; Robinson Opondo, Deng Gau, Ismail Wainwright, Eric Rwahwire, and Arthur Kaluma.