Junior Gazelles make terrible start in Kigali

Tuesday July 30 2019

Humiliation. Rogers Serunyigo heaped praise on

Humiliation. Rogers Serunyigo heaped praise on Mali. PHOTO BY ISMAIL KEZAALA. 

By Dorah Nakibuuka

The Junior Gazelles, the national ladies basketball team, must return to winning ways after being walloped by Mali 108-32 in their opening game at the ongoing U16 Fiba Africa Women’s Championship at Amahoro Stadium, Kigali Rwanda Sunday.

Coach Rogers Serunyigo said Mali is an excellent team that has gone through ranks and better preparations but his girls tried despite the humiliating scoreline.

“Mali is a great team, we respect them,” he told Daily Monitor via WhatsApp. Mali has won this championship a record five times yet this is Uganda’s first appearance.

“The girls have got over the loss and are in excellent spirits to face other teams,” Serunyigo explained, adding that Mali had a lot of pressure on the ball which intimidated Uganda. “The entire Mali team can handle the ball well, but we are over that, if other teams intend to use the same tactic, we shall get over them.” The team is to apply new tactics like full court presses, zonal defenses to slow down the game and quick transitions to run the floor in the next games.
Captain Lydia Babirye was to join the team for subsequent games after sustaining injury during training. By press time yesterday, Uganda was facing Egypt.

Mary Amanyo, Mary Najjuma and Penitah Nabakooza are the key players Serunyigo is looking at in the next games. The Junior Gazelles are the 2019 Fiba U16 Zone V Afro-Basket Women champions
The team has to be among the top two to qualify for the Fiba Under-17 Women’s Basketball World Cup due 2020.

Group A: 1.Rwanda, 2.Angola,
3.Tanzania, 4.Mozambique
Group B: 1.Mali, 2.Egypt,
3.Uganda, 4.South Africa
Uganda 32-108 Mali