Silverbacks locked in despite financial woes

Embracing Preparation.  The Silverbacks put in a shift ahead of their last qualifier match against Morocco that they won to earn a ticket to Kigali for the Fiba Afrobasket Finals that tip-off next week.  PHOTO / FUBA MEDIA

What you need to know:

  • Funds Not Enough. The Silverbacks might be in Kigali but Fuba president Sserunjogi is still in Kampala trying to get funds for the campaign. The money handed to him on Monday was used to clear part of the team’s debts.

The national men’s basketball team, Silverbacks, arrived in Kigali, Rwanda on Wednesday afternoon ahead of the Fiba Afrobasket Championship.

That was just in time for a mandatory seven-day quarantine for travellers from Uganda.

Arrival beyond Wednesday would have been bad news for the team as the quarantine days would eat into the tournament time.

With all players tested for Covid-19 and returning negative results, the focus is now on a strong performance at the tournament despite the financial hiccups that have dominated headlines in the last few weeks.

Team captain Jimmy Enabu is confident the team will have their minds on the tournament and let management handle the problems off the court.
“Our minds as players are on Afrobasket,” Enabu told Daily Monitor.

“We’ve had a few challenges leading up to the tournament but that’s behind us now, our eyes are on the prize.
“We have to focus on our role as players and we can’t wait to play,” he added. 

Soliciting funds
The Silverbacks might be in Kigali but Fuba president Nasser Sserunjogi is still in Kampala trying to get funds for the campaign.

Money handed to him on Monday by National Council of Sports General Secretary Bernard Patrick Ogwel was used to clear part of the debt acquired by the federation for the trip to Morocco.

Another 360 million is required for Fuba to settle the remainder of the debt and also facilitate the smooth running of proceedings in Kigali.

Fingers crossed
National team manager Grace Kwizera told this paper that negotiations are on with Fiba and Federation of Rwanda Basketball Associations (FERWABA) to have the team allowed to train while in isolation.

Players and officials are being accomodated at Hilltop Hotel in Giporoso, a stone throw from the Kigali International Airport, and are expected to stay isolated in their rooms all the time.

“We have asked to be allowed to train while in isolation because that is the only option we have for now,” he said.

On Thursday, the team had a light session conducted by assistant coaches Mandy Juruni and Andrew Tendo in the hotel parking lot.
Access to a proper training facility is what the team requires as the tournament gets closer.

No positive test
Further negotiations are on to have the team get waiver on the number of days in isolation considering no one returned a positive test on arrival.

The group of players and coaches from Uganda is the only one subjected to seven days of quarantine as Uganda still in the red zone according to Rwanda.

Silverbacks players from the rest of the world will only wait 24 hours for their Covid-19 test results before being allowed access to the tournament bubble facilities. 

Enabu, Tonny Drileba, Ben  Komakech, Titus Lual and James Okello are the players who made the trip from Uganda alongside coaches Mandy Juruni and Andrew Tendo.
Adam Seiko will be the only new addition to the squad.

Toronto Raptors’ Ishmail Wainwright, Arthur Kaluma, Eric Rwahwire, Kieran Zziwa, Deng Geu and Robinson Opong are all warming up for the showpiece.
The foreign based players started arriving yesterday.

2021 Fiba Afrobasket in RWANDA

GROUP A: Rwanda, DR Congo, Angola, Cape Verde
GROUP B: Tunisia, Central African Republic, Egypt, Guinea
GROUP C: Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali
GROUP D: Senegal, Cameroon, South Sudan, Uganda

Uganda’s fixtures

Aug. 25: Senegal            vs.    Uganda
Aug. 27: Uganda              vs.   Cameroon
Aug. 29. South Sudan vs.    Uganda

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