The lack of inside presence was one of the problems the national basketball team Silverbacks faced as they fell at the first qualification stage of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifiers last year.
Consequently, the national team committee set out to address that anomaly as they summoned the Silverbacks and Gazelles the women side ahead of the regional qualifiers for the inaugural FIBA AfroCan tournament due June 26-July 01 at Lugogo .
“These guys are international players and their body of work is there for everyone to see,” stressed Albert Ahabwe a member of the committee as he made a case for the new names on the two rosters.
Limited to only two foreign based players, the committee recalled Deng Geu one of the few players to impress in the World Cup Qualfiers as well Brandon Davies.
The centre 6 ft 10 will be among the debutants on the men’s side that will be cut from 16 to 12 players ahead of the tournament.
“We know the new players fit the particular team’s needs,” added Ahabwe of Davies who was named to the 2018-19 All-EuroLeague First Team with Lithuanian side Zalgiris Kaunas. The 28-year-old American center debuted in Euro League with Zalgiris two years ago averaging 9.8 points per match in his first season and improved to 16.9 in his 2018-19 campaign. He also had 12 points per game aiding his team extend its dominance in the Lithuanian League. The other new players that will fight for slots on the team include UCU’s David Deng and JKL’s Daniel Monoja.
The team also includes Canada-based Robinson Opong who is expected to arrive in the country and feature for the Oilers in the local league this weekend.
The women’s team also includes an American Urysla Cotton Kelenza who last turned out for BA London Lions.
“She gives us inside scoring, great presence on the glass, challenges shots, runs the floor really well and already has demonstrated that she’s a great person to have around the group,” Kelenza was described by Lions’ Head Coach, Mark Clark at her unveiling.
Uganda will be seeking to top the regional qualifier that includes countries such as Burundi, Egypt, Rwanda, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia to qualify for the inaugural AfrcoCan tournament.
N. BASKETBALL LEAGUE
City Oilers vs. KIU Titans
KCCA vs. A1
UCU 80-54 JKL
Ndejje Univ 76-69 Kampala Univ
Silverbacks (men) Squad:
Josh Johnson, Tony Drileba, Jimmy Enabu, Syrus Kiviiri, Robinson Opong, Mark Opio, Steve Omony, Joseph Ikong, David Deng, Deng Geu, James Okello, Geoffrey Soro, Brandon Davies, Stanley Mugerwa, Daniel Monoja, Ivan Lumanyika.
Gazelles (WOMEN) SQUAD:
Flavia Oketcho, Judith Nansobya, Ritah Imanishimwe, Brenda Ekone, Jamilah Nansikombi, Zainah Lokwameri, Sarah Ageno, Priscilla Abei, Claire Lamunu, Hope Akello, Martha Soigi, Urysla Cotton Kelenza.Mwebeiha, Daya Mpeera Yalonda, Alexis Kituuka, Zara Nsubuga, Sinzi Nabatanzi, Ahura Ambala, Chiara Kagugube, Priscilla Erapu