Silverbacks close in on Afrobasket qualification

The Uganda men's basketball team, the Silverbacks are one win away from confirming participation at next year's FIBA Afrobasket in Kigali, Rwanda.

The first round of the qualifiers came to an end Sunday night with George Galanopoulos' troops defeating Cape Verde for their second victory in Alexandria,  Egypt.

Having collapsed in the fourth quarter to lose to Egypt in the first game of the qualifiers, the Silverbacks recovered to beat Morocco and Cape Verde and enhance their chances.

New recruit Ishmail Wainwright, Deng Geu, Jimmy Enabu and Robinson Opong were the standout performers for Uganda.

Enabu is averaging 17.7 points and 5 assists per game with three more games to play in next year's second round.

The skipper is now confident Kigali is in sight with the second phase of qualifiers coming up early next year.

"I think the team performed very well this week. We put ourselves in a very good position to compete in the second round," Enabu said after the three games in Egypt.

"Now we have to prepare for the next window. At least we have some time to recover and hopefully preparations will start as soon as we can," he added.

Canada based shooting guard Opong is averaging 19 points and is also confident ahead of the second round.

"Obviously, this is big for Ugandan basketball. Playing the way we did, I think we showed that we learned from the past losses and we gained experience from it and now we are just getting over the hump and I’m very excited about the future." Opong revealed.

The group’s second round of the qualifiers will be played in Cairo, Egypt from February 19-21, 2021.

Head coach Gallanapolos will be hoping to have a full team in Cairo having relied on Just nine players in Alexandria.

Both Emmanuel Mugenga and Joseph Ikong missed the action after sustaining injuries during the training camp while Stanley Mugerwa was unused all through the tournament.

First round results
Egypt 96-77 Uganda
Uganda 94-90 Morocco
Egypt 101-98 Cape Verde

Second Round Fixtures

Feb 19: Uganda vs. Egypt
Feb 20: Morocco vs. Uganda
Feb 21: Cape Verde vs. Uganda


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The writer is a Freelance Sports Reporter based in Kampala, Uganda. Follow him on Twitter (@Emanzi20), Facebook (Ndyamuhaki J. Emanzi) and Instagram (@emanzi20).

Published: 12/07/2020