A ninth place finish at the previous edition and a solitary win from four warm up games in Egypt.
The City Oilers though, were still filled with optimism if as expected, they landed yesterday in the Tunisian city of Rades ahead of the Fiba Africa Champions Cup.
The four-time National Basketball League champions have had a two week camp in Alexandria where according to the club’s manager Mohammed Santur they have been able to evaluate the team.
“The main goal of the friendlies was to run our plays and see which combinations we can use,” he explained on Thursday having been able to have a full house for at least a week.
“The goal was not to worry about results.But to know what kind of team you have and which player can perform at this level,” he added.
Coach Mandy Juruni had previously talked of securing a place in the knockout stages but was this week quoted by the website as habouring title ambitions.
“Our expectation is to win the tournament. You do not have to play 20 times to win something. It is about preparation, hard work, belief and having a good team to compete,” he is quoted having said in an interview on the tournament website.
With a vastly improved roster from last year, it is evident where the Oilers optimism is coming from.
Oilers will be able to call on the additions of Zone V MVP Jordin Mayes, A’Darius Pegues and Robinson Odoch Opong who starred as they clinched in style the Fiba Africa Zone V tournament they hosted in October.
The trio will be added onto the likes of Stanley Ociti, Landry Ndikumana, Jimmy Enabu and Ben Komakech, players Juruni described“as good as any at the championship” last year.
Veteran forward Stephen Omony has since joined while James Okello and guards Daniel Jjuuko and Tony Drilleba will also have gained further experience.
“Our expectation is to win the tournament. You do not have to play 20 times to win something. It is about preparation, hard work, belief and having a good team to compete,” the coach further noted.
With 2016 winners Al Ahly absent, last year’s finalists Recreativo de Libolo from Angola who thumped the Oilers 98-44 will fancy their chances.
Past five Fiba Africa Champions Cup winners
2016- Al Ahly
2015- Petro Atlético
2014- Recreativo do Libolo
2013- Primeiro de Agosto
2012- Primeiro de Agosto