Silverbacks encounter Nigeria on Fiba WC qualification debut

Friday February 23 2018

By Elvis Senono


Coaches Mandy Juruni and Nicholas Natuhereza were keen on knowing the physical shape of Stanley Ocitti and Brandon Sebirumbi ahead of the start of the Fiba World Cup Qualifiers this evening in Mali.
Apart from being the last players to enter the mini-camp that the Silverbacks have held ahead of their debut in the competition, the pair is expected to help counter the size of the opposition the team will face.
First up is Nigeria this evening in what is expected to be a physical encounter before playing hosts Mali tomorrow and neighbours Rwanda on Saturday.
Three places are up for grabs in Group B ahead of the final qualification round of 12 teams from which five teams will represent the continent in China next year. And Juruni offered his assessement of the duo who arrived in the West African country on Wednesday evening.
“Having Stanley and Brandon makes the team bigger. They look ready. Both bring different values to the team,” Juruni said of the duo.
“Defensively they can match up to any big man at the tournament. Brandon has a good jump shot in the paint and Stanley can stretch the opposition with his shooting and passing while also helping out on the guards,” he added. Juruni however remained worry of the opposition’s physical strength as well as their pedigree with the Nigerians having won the 2015 Afrobasket where Uganda finished 15th. They also finished as runner up last year in addition to two previous World Cup appearances
“Nigeria are one of the best teams in Africa and we expect a quick and physical game. We have to prepare ourselves mentally and physically but also not to give them a lot of repsect,” he said.
The Nigerians called up Ike Diogu, who led in scoring at FIBA AfroBasket championships in 2013 and 2017.

Today’s game

Uganda vs Nigeria 6:30pm