Sunday May 25 2014

Silverbacks struggle but coach Juruni adamant


Kampala- The vibe around next month’s Fiba Africa Zone V Basketball Championships is growing mainly with the hope that hosts Uganda will return to the heady days of 2005.

Nine years ago, Uganda went all the way to the title with Ivan Enabu being declared Most Valuable Player (MVP) but it’s been about finding new lows with every tournament.

Many feel that has been due to ill-preparation, something you cannot point to heading into this year’s edition. Expectations will definitely be higher and so will be the scrutiny. In losing 64-54 to City Oilers on Thursday, the national team, recently named the Silverbacks, invited the latter.

A crowd reminiscent of the playoffs watched in both joy and anger at the Lugogo MTN Arena as coach Mandy Juruni’s team failed to deliver anything close to a finished article, 21 days before ‘showtime’.

Add the fact that Uganda, though hosts, will be underdogs in their own backyard and the gloomy faces will pile up. “Yes, we struggled,” Juruni admitted. “We didn’t shoot well.”
That’s an understatement. The two sides combined to split 10 points for the entire first quarter. You could quadrupled that for a final score of 20 but basketball doesn’t work like that. Offensively, they were pathetic. Defensively, they are at sea especially late in the game when James Okello feasted on too many open lanes for 12 points. Ben Komakech had a game-high 13 for Oilers, 10 in the third.


Uganda Silverbacks 54-64 City Oilers
M: Sharing vs. Nkumba (3.30pm)
M: UCU vs. KIU (7.30pm)
W: Crane vs. KCCA (1.30pm)
W: KIU vs. Mak Sparks (7.30pm)