The opening line about the AfroBasket Qualifier preview done on the Fiba (Federation of International Basketball Associations) website fittingly talks about the importance of a fast start from the first of two qualification windows.
The national basketball team Silverbacks will be among those keen to be quick out of the blocks when Group E action gets underway on Friday in Alexandria Egypt.
This is because the second qualifying window due, February, is expected to happen at a time when various leagues across the world are in high gear.
The scenario could then leave the Silverbacks without head coach George Galanopoulos who is in charge of NBA G League team Texas Legends as well as a number of foreign-based players such as John Deng Geu who plies his trade in Denmark and Ishmail Wainright who features for SIG Strasbourg in France.
Consequently, the Silverbacks will target at least two victories starting with Friday’s game when they take on hosts Egypt in Alexandria.
“Every single game is going to be tough, it’s going to be a grind. Starting with Egypt the roster that they brought it in is one of the better teams in Africa on paper.
Morocco has always been rock-solid and Cape Verde is obviously on the rise as well.
“No opponent should be taken for granted and every game is important. So, we are going to approach each game as such, hopefully, we can come out on the right side,” Galanopoulos opined during the 10-day training camp his team have held in Egypt.
At his disposal he has Robinson Opong, Eric Rwahire, Jimmy Abraham Enabu, Tony Drileba and Ben Komakech as the guards.
Ishmail Wainwright and Titus Lual will meanwhile join Rwahwire as the players set to play under Galanapolous for the first time.
After playing the hosts Egypt, the Silverbacks will return to action on Saturday against Morocco, a nation they lost to marginally 79-70 at the 2017 AfroBasket.
They will thereafter play a Cape Verde side that shocked some by beating Chad and South Sudan in a three-nation invitational tournament in Yaounde last month and will rely on the experience of Jeff Xavier to make a difference.
The top three teams from the group after the second leg, will automatically qualify to the Fiba Afrobasket 2021 to be held in Rwanda.
Silverbacks Final Squad:
Ben Komakech, Tony Drileba, Jimmy Abraham Enabu, Joseph Ikong Anyuru, James Okello, Stanley Mugerwa, Titus Lual Odeke, Emmanuel Mugenga, Ishmail Wainwright, Robinson Opong, Eric Rwahire, Deng Geu.
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