Tuesday February 6 2018

Silverbacks intensify WC preparations, changes loom

Big asset. Brian Mukasa (R) drives past

Big asset. Brian Mukasa (R) drives past Foxborough’s Mark Clagg (L) during his days at Sharon High in 2014. Mukasa is rated as a high-scoring player in US. AGENCIES PHOTO 

By ELVIS SENONO

KAMPALA.

The national team selection committee headed by Mohamed Santur have done a splendid job of changing the face of the national basketball teams.
Apart from having to deal with sourcing for finances for the respective men and women teams, the committee that often prefers to keep a low profile has also been scouting the globe for players with Ugandan roots.
But with little or no rewards for those players, getting them to feature consistently for national team engagements has also proved a difficult task.
The latest example comes as the Silverbacks are preparing for the initial round of World Cup qualifiers due February 23-25 in Bamako, Mali. The positive news comes in the addition of 5’11ft US-based point guard Brian Mukasa currently a student at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.
He had a standout career at Sharon High School where he graduated in 2014 with 1,306 career points and is one of the Eagles’ all-time leading scorers. Also expected is centre Brandon Sebirumbi and guard Josh Johnson, who return having missed the 2017 AfroBasket edition but were part of the 2015 team.
A’Darius Pegues a naturalised Ugandan and one of the standout players from the City Oilers and Silverbacks engagements is however expected to miss out.
The foreign-based players who also include Robinson Odoch, Stanley Ocitti and Samuel Kalwanyi will join the 13-man list of domestic league players who are into their second week of training from which a 12-man roster will be chosen.

2019 FIBA W.CUP QUALIFIERS

February 23-25: in Bamako, Mali
Group B: Uganda, Rwanda, Mali, Nigeria

LOCAL PLAYERS IN CAMP

City Oilers: Stephen Omony Jimmy Enabu, Tony Drilleba, James Okello, Jonah Otim. Pemba Warriors: Stanley Mugerwa, Syrus Kiviiri, Mark Opio. UCU Canons: Derrick Isiko, Jonathan Egau. Betway Power: Joseph Ikong UPDF Tomahawks: Henry Okoth, Samuel Mukooza.

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