Silverbacks off to camp in Egypt ahead of World Cup Qualifiers

Uganda men’s basketball team, Silverbacks.

What you need to know:

  • Only four local based players have made the cut. Team captain Jimmy Enabu, Tony Drileba, James Okello and Ivan Muhwezi are the four selected from the local league.
  • Emmanuel Mugenga is the other returnee after sitting out two years. He was part of the team that started off Uganda’s journey to qualifying for Afrobasket but tore his ACL in practice and had to watch from the sidelines.

The last two outings for the Uganda men’s basketball team, Silverbacks, have come on the back of limited or no preparation at all. The team only had one day’s training before the FIBA Afrobasket Championship in Kigali last August but went on to beat top sides Cameroon and Nigeria enroute to recording their best ever finish, sixth.

For the first window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers last November in Benguela, Angola, Robinson Opong was on the road from Luanda to Benguela as Uganda was struggling to keep up with Mali, eventually falling 76-66 in the opener.

Brandon Davies and Emmanuel Womala had also met the rest of the team at the team hotel just hours to tip off of the Mali game.

Ahead of the second window that starts July 1 in Kigali, Rwanda, Fuba and the National Team committee have decided to have a two-week camp in Alexandria Egypt to prepare the team for action.

The team will start assembling in Egypt tonight and the locally based players and coaches are set to leave for the camp on Friday.

“In whatever we do in life, preparation is key. If you don't prepare, you can't achieve much,” Fuba president Nasser Sserunjogi told this publication.

“This will help us to prepare the players psychologically to be ready for the task ahead,”

In Alexandria, the team will have training sessions but also play build up games before connecting to Kigali on June 28.

 Wainright, Mugenga return

Phoenix Suns’ Ishmail Wainright is back in the squad after missing out on the first window action last November due to his busy NBA schedule.

The 6’5’ forward, who played 45 regular season games and seven playoffs games, has been an integral part of the side since making his debut in November 2020.

He averaged 12.6 points, nine rebounds and six assists in Kigali and will be looking to help Uganda to the next window of qualifiers and eventually the World Cup.

Emmanuel Mugenga is the other returnee after sitting out two years. He was part of the team that started off Uganda’s journey to qualifying for Afrobasket but tore his ACL in practice and had to watch from the sidelines.

Jonathan Komagum will be the latest discovery by the National team committee and is expected to add size and presence in the paint.

Only four local based players have made the cut. Team captain Jimmy Enabu, Tony Drileba, James Okello and Ivan Muhwezi are the four selected from the local league.

Uganda is third in Group A after getting a win over Cape Verde and losses to Mali and Nigeria.

After the second window, the top three teams in all the four groups will be pooled in two groups of six teams.

The top two teams, and the best third-placed team will qualify to the 2023 World Cup.

First Window Results
Mali 76-66 Uganda
Uganda 77-74 Cape Verde
Uganda 69-95 Nigeria

Second Window Fixture
July 1: Uganda Vs Mali
July 2: Cape Verde Vs Uganda
July 3: Nigeria Vs Uganda

Silverbacks

Guards

Jimmy Enabu, Tony Drileba, Adam Seiko, Robinson Opong, Keiran Zziwa, Ivan Muhwezi.

Wings

Ishmail Wainright, Arthur Kaluma, Emmanuel Mugenga, Emmanuel Womala.

Bigs

Deng Geu, Jonathan Komagun, James Okello


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