Qualification to this year’s African Basketball Championships (Afro Basket) and African Cup of Nations (AFROCAN) tournaments will be the goal as both Uganda’s national basketball teams get underway in the qualifiers today at the MTN Indoor Arena in Lugogo, Kampala.
The Zone 5 qualifiers are expected to last 10 days and will tip off today, Wednesday June 26th with the climax coming on July 6th.
The qualifiers pit the teams from the Eastern region of Africa, through the horn of Africa up to Egypt in the north East. They all will be competing for a single spot available to feature in either tournaments for the men and women teams.
The last time Uganda hosted these qualifiers in 2014, both the male team, the Silverbucks and female side, the Gazelles qualified for the finals and they will be hoping that they can back on home soil advantage and the fans support to achieve qualification again.
The Silverbucks have been under specialized training for two weeks and did even take part in a build up friendly game against a select team with head Coach George Galanopoulos, putting emphasis on playing with high intensity.
The Silverbucks will begin their journey against neighbours Kenya at 7:00 pm while the Gazelles will tip-off against Rwanda who could push them all the way for the qualification spot.
However, for the first time in almost 18 years, the silverbucks will be without captain Steven Umony who misses through injury but Captain Jimmy Enabu, Tony Drileba, Robinson Opong, Deng Geu, and Brandon Davis could start and set the tempo for the game.
The Gazelles on the other hand do have all their prospects on deck with Captain Flavia Oketcho, Jamilla Nansikombi, Martha Siogi, Hope Akello and will be boosted by the experience of Claire Lamunu based in Finland and Ursyla Cotton Kelenza based in USA.
The Gazelles will open against Rwanda, while Kenya’s women will get the tournament underway against Egypt before Egypt and Rwanda take to the court in the men’s category.
The AfroCAN tournament has been comfirmed to take place in Mali from July 16th – 28th July 2019 while the 2019 Women AfroBasket tournament is yet to be confirmed with confirmation on the venue and dates expected in August.
Zone 5 AfroCan/AfroBasket Opening Day Fixtures
Egypt Vs Kenya (W) – 1:00 pm
Egypt Vs Rwanda (M) – 3:00 pm
Uganda Vs Rwanda (W) – 5:00 pm
Uganda Vs Kenya (M) – 7:00 pm