There will be a notable presence when the national basketball team, the Silverbacks, resume training today ahead of the second qualifying window of the Afrobasket championship.
Caesar Kizito, the Sharing Youth swingman whose continued exclusion has been a subject of much debate on social media among basketball enthusiasts, will get his chance to impress after being included on the 12-man roster of locally-based players.
“After how we played in the last window and the coach’s system, we realise we will need more wing weapons that can shoot the ball, defend multiple positions and play in transition,” Silverbacks team manager Albert Ahabwe said of the latest roster before explaining Kizito’s particular addition.
“Caesar is a big guard who can guard multiple positions and shoots the ball well. He’s also a willing and tough defender,” said of the former Miracle, Falcons and Warriors player.
The rest of the squad involves all seven domestic league players who were used in the first qualification windows.
They will again be challenged for slots by Innocent Ochera, Fayed Bbale, Ivan Muwhezi and Peter Obleng – the KIU player who previously trained with the team before departure to Egypt for the first qualification window.
The Silverbacks finished second in their four-team group behind hosts Egypt but ahead of Morocco and Cape Verde after the first window following wins of over the last two nations.
They essentially need one win from the next qualification window, also expected to be held in Egypt, to guarantee qualification to a third straight Afrobasket championship.
Silverbacks coach George Galanopoulos was so impressed with the team’s outing in Alexandria that he ranked it as one that delivered his ‘greatest feeling.’
The national basketball team recovered from an opening day 96-77 loss to hosts Egypt to beat Morocco 94-90 and Cape Verde 101-98.
“Our two wins meant a lot not only to this group but to the country of Uganda,” Galanopoulos said. “I am very grateful to be part of something so special with a great group of people who are pulling for the same direction.
“The people we have involved in Ugandan basketball are some of the best people I have ever been around. The people we have are some of the best I have had to work with.
“This is the greatest feeling I have ever had with a basketball team.”
Ahabwe described the team that exceeded expectations despite funding challenges as having “the best chemistry ever” in his seven years
Jimmy Enabu City Oilers
Tonny Drileba City Oilers
Ben Komakech City Oilers
James Okello City Oilers
Joseph Ikong City Oilers
Ivan Muwhezi City Oilers
Titus Odeke Lual UCU Canons
Stanley Mugerwa Warriors)
Innocent Ochera JKL Dolphins
Fayed Bbale UCU Canons
Ceaser Kizito Sharing Youth
Peter Obleng KIU Titans
Afrobasket next games
Feb 19, 2021: Uganda vs. Egypt
Feb 20, 2021: Morocco vs. Uganda
Feb 21, 2021: C. Verde vs. Uganda