It’s full house at the Afrobasket in Kigali

The national basketball team, Silverbacks celebrate qualifying for the FIBA Afrobasket for the third successive time early this year. PHOTO/COURTESY 

What you need to know:

  • With just a day to the first game, Galanopoulos will not have that much time with the squad but believes the team will be more than ready by tip off time. 

Ishmail Wainwright is expected to join and boost the Silverbacks camp in Kigali, Rwanda, today ahead of the Fiba Afrobasket Championship.

The Toronto Raptors forward has been on the lips of everyone with many wondering whether he still had time for Uganda having signed for the Canadian side on August 7.

Team manager Albert Ahabwe confirmed to Daily Monitor that Wainwright is expected to link up with the rest of the players today and will be ready for the first game of the tournament against Senegal on Wednesday.

“We expect to have everyone here today,” Ahabwe said.
Arthur Kaluma and Deng Geu are also expected today to complete the roster as Uganda looks to better their 13th place finish from the 2017 championship.

Eric Rwahwire and Robinson Opong were the first foreign-based players to arrive Thursday while Kieran Ziwa and Adam Seiko flew in Friday night alongside head coach George Galonopoulos.

With just a day to the first game, Galanopoulos will not have that much time with the squad but believes the team will be more than ready by tip off time. 

Dream come true
Adam Seiko has been waiting for the opportunity to play for his country and the Afrobasket will present exactly that this week when he steps out with Uganda at the Afrobasket championship.

“When I was younger my mum and I used to talk about one day possibly playing for the national team,” the guard told this paper after he met up with the rest of the players.

“I have worked very hard and been presented with this opportunity, it’s the best feeling in the world,” he added.
Seiko will be playing alongside his younger brother Arthur Kaluma and the feeling is surreal for the San Diego University State player.

“To have the opportunity to play with him on the national team at the highest level is a great thing for us,”
To the Silverbacks, Seiko brings leadership, shooting and defence.

‘No body cares’
Head coach Galanopoulos arrived in Kigali Friday night but was ready for his first practice session Saturday morning.
In his first address to the team, he made it clear no one was going to pity them for not having enough time to prepare for the biggest competition on the continent.

“No body cares about all that,” he said. “There’s no excuses, we just have to go out and work as hard as we can.” 
The Silverbacks had last trained together on July 7 before their game against Morocco, from which qualification was sealed. Galanopoulos will have had four days of practice with the team before the first game on Wednesday. 

Quarantine time reduced
Uganda and India are considered high risk countries that can easily bring about increased cases of Covid-19 and the Rwanda government subjects travellers from the two countries to seven days of mandatory quarantine.

That, however, was waived for Uganda after the third day in isolation to allow the team enter the tournament bubble and also start training in preparation for the tournament.

Two tests were done in a space of two days and the whole of the Ugandan contingent returned negative results which helped their case in appealing to Fiba and Federation of Rwanda Basketball Associations to have the period revised.

The team transferred from Hilltop Hotel Giporoso to Park Inn by Radisson in Kiyovu where they will be based for the tournament.

Most important test
The Silverbacks have had two Covid-19 tests and all returned negative results. The most important of them all, however, will be conducted today to ensure there are no cases ahead of the team’s first game.

Having suffered a blow in the first window of qualifiers in Tunisia, the team has fingers crossed to have everyone ready for action on Wednesday.

Teams are subjected to a mandatory Covid-19 test 48 hours before a game.


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