First victory over Moroccco ‘shows growth’

Monday November 30 2020
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By ISMAIL KIGONGO

Jimmy Enabu is only one of three members of the current national basketball team, the Silverbacks,  to have faced Moroccan opposition before – the first time in 2016.
The others are fellow guard Ben Komakech and forward James Okello.

Then playing at the Fiba Africa Club Champions’ Cup for City Oilers, the Ugandan side predictably lost 83–72 to AS Sale in Cairo, Egypt.
“They played like a well-oiled machine,” Enabu recalls of that defeat when he scored 15 points en route to 9th place on the club’s continental debut.
The pattern was repeated a year later. City Oilers, with a much better roster, lost to the same team 91-81 in Rades, Tunisia. Nothing changed for the Silverbacks either. Morocco beat Uganda 79-70 at the 2017 Fiba Afrobasket in Dakar, Senegal.
That finally changed Saturday. Uganda overcame Morocco 94-90 at the Fiba Afrobasket qualifiers in Alexandria, Egypt – a first victory against the former African champions.
“We have grown a lot with every trip we’ve made. We have gotten better,” Enabu added. Indeed they have.

Qualification chance
Robinson Opong scored 29 points, including seven threes, Jimmy Enabu had 16 while Deng Geu and Ishmail Wainwright contributed 14 points each.
Silverbacks have completed half the job having lost the tournament opener to hosts Egypt 96-77 on the back of 21 turnovers, eight of which were Enabu’s.

“The key (to beating Morocco) was staying together throughout the game, we managed to move the ball well and we didn’t turn the ball over many times as it was against Egypt,” coach George Galanopoulos said.
“We were out rebounded, we needed to box out but we did shoot the ball well.”

Across two qualification windows, this and another next February, Uganda must win two games in group E that also has Cape Verde.
They were due to play the latter by press time.
ikigongo@ug.nationmedia.com

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