Silverbacks need another miracle

Silverbacks' Robinson Odoch Opong will be critical on both ends of the floor. PHOTO/COURTSEY 

What you need to know:

Inadequate preparations prior to major events is common place with the team and when they step on the floor to face Angola in the second round of the Fiba Basketball World Cup 2023 African Qualifiers today, the team will have accumulated a total of 24 hours together.

Over the last one year, the story of the Silverbacks has been that of defying odds. They have won games they had no business winning due to poor preparations.

Inadequate preparations prior to major events is common place with the team and when they step on the floor to face Angola in the second round of the Fiba Basketball World Cup 2023 African Qualifiers today, the team will have accumulated a total of 24 hours together.

No training camp. Just meet up and play, hope to get good results and return home. The first fixtures in Angola were also played without any training.

A planned camp in Turkey was not possible due to lack of funds and the team only arrived in Abidjan, Ivory Coast yesterday. George Galanopoulos and his troops must now work towards another miracle.

Their qualification will be the biggest miracle in Ugandan basketball and not just because Uganda has never made it to the world stage but rather due to the position the Silverbacks find themselves in entering the final bend of the qualifiers.

Tough task

The Silverbacks will go into battle without brothers Adam Seiko and Arthur Kaluma. Seiko has not featured in these qualifiers while Kaluma was in Kigali in July but is now ruled out with injury.

Titus Lual Odeke is the only change made to the team that was in Kigali.

Undefeated Ivory Coast, Cape Verde and Nigeria are favourites to tussle it out for the two direct tickets available from the group and Uganda must perfect to get into that conversation.

On court, the Silverbacks have only defeated Cape Verde in these qualifiers and only made this stage after Mali’s disqualification for forfeiting games in Kigali.

The Silverbacks rank fifth in group E with a 1-3 record. Only Guinea, with a 0-4 record are worse off than the East Africans.

Kaluma’ absence will be felt by the team. Averaging 22.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3 assists, the 6’7 Creighton University forward was Uganda’s best player in Kigali and his replacement Odeke did not play any single minute the last time he was with the team at Afrobasket last year. The UCU Canons captain averaged nine points and 10 rebounds in the regular season.

Team captain Jimmy Enabu scored a mere five points in two games in July while Emmanuel Mugenga only got six. Jonathan Komagum got four points and five rebounds in 13 minutes against Nigeria plus two points and two rebounds against Cape Verde. All these must improve their stats to give Uganda a chance.


In Phoenix Suns forward Ishmail Wainwright, however, the Silverbacks have a pillar to work around and with James Okello now fully fit, Galanopoulos will have options off the bench.


Silverbacks Fixture
Friday, August 26: Angola

Saturday, August 27: Ivory Coast

Sunday, August 28: Guinea 


Group E

Cote D’Ivoire 4-0

Cape Verde 3-1

Angola 2-2

Nigeria 2-2

Uganda 1-3

Guinea 0-4

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