The National basketball team, the Silverbacks, are expected to connect to Kigali, Rwanda, today for the second round of the 2023 Fiba World Cup Qualifiers after concluding a two-week camp in Alexandria, Egypt.
If the team needed some momentum going into the qualifiers, they didn’t one get from Egypt. George Galanopoulos and his charges lost all three trial games to Rwanda, Jordan and Egypt and will be hoping for better returns when action starts on Friday.
And yet, the team remains focused on the benefits from the camp and not the results.
“It is one thing to focus on the score and another to look at what we are trying to improve on,” captain Jimmy Enabu said after the games.
“The friendlies have been tough because of the numbers. “We’ve been trying to execute what we’ve been practising and with the numbers and real game situations, things will be different.”
Not there yet
After the 89-59 loss to Egypt, Robinson Opong revealed the team might not be ready now but will be looking forward to Friday’s game with Mali.
“The game (against Egypt) helped us highlight our weaknesses and now we are definitely not ready to start the qualifiers at this time but come Friday, I’m confident.
“We’ve been working on our weaknesses and fine tuning our defensive principles and also trying to be a little more efficient offensively and come Friday, no doubt, we will be ready and I am looking forward to it.”
The Canada-based shooting guard was one of the last players to arrive in camp and only featured in the game against Egypt. With Ishmail Wainright, Emmanuel Mugenga and Arthur Kaluma also already in camp, only Adam Seiko missed out on all the three practice games.
Big man Jonathan Komagum has already showed how important his 6’9 frame will be for the Silverbacks going forward. He showed his presence in the paint and ability to shoot.
In Kigali, the team will have another two days of training before the clash with Mali on Friday.
Shoot the ball
From the three trial games, the Silverbacks looked intent on shooting. The shot failed to drop in the three games but it was clear Galanopoulos wants the team to shoot as much as possible.
It makes sense considering Uganda is one of the smallest teams, in size, playing in the qualifiers. And, when Uganda has had the shot falling, the results have come.
Opong shot six-of-10 from downtown as Uganda defeated Nigeria 80-68 for their biggest win at Afrobasket last year in Kigali and more of that shooting will be needed starting Friday.
More of that will be required if the team is to get the results to send them to the next round of qualifiers.