Uganda’s men National basketball team, the Silverbacks have been flagged off by the National Council Of Sports(NCS) for Afrobasket Qualifiers amidst financial hardships.
The Silverbacks leaves for Egypt this Saturday for the Qualifiers in Alexandria due November 27-29.
Since recent weeks,Federation Of Uganda Basketball Association (FUBA), has been waiting for National Council Of Sports funds of Sh370m to facilitate the trip.
However, the team has left with nothing but a promise.
“We have had our challenges as Council because the government interventions have not been timely,” explained NCS General Secretary Dr Patrick Bernard Ogwel during the flag off at Copper Chimney.
“But I want to thank the leadership of FUBA for ensuring that most of the needs are catered for.
“I hereby request the President (Nasser Sserunjogi) to stay behind and wait until the funds come.”
NCS has not given the right timeline or the actual amount and when FUBA will receive the funds, but Sserunjogi remains optimistic.
The Federation, with the help of Silverbacks General Manager Hajji Muhammad Santur Ghedi, has had to lobby adequate funds to facilitate the team including paying the air tickets for the five foreign-based players and accommodations among others.
Silverbacks Have Work Cut Out
The Silverbacks, who were scheduled to leave on November 12, will face giants Egypt, Morocco and Cape Verde in the Qualifiers.
The side is seeking for a third straight return to Afrobasket after appearances in 2015 and 2017.
The Afrobasket finals, which will be the 30th edition of the tournament, will be staged in Rwanda in August next year.
To qualify to the tournament, the Silverbacks will have to finish among the top three in the four-team group after the two windows.
The Qualifiers this month in Egypt serves as the first window, then the other window will be played in February next year at a yet to be confirmed venue.
Uganda, to reach the 2021 FIBA Afrobasket, will have to do negotiate the first window without Samuel Kalwanyi who pulled out due to personal reasons.
The team of 12 will have three debutants including UCU Canons forward Titus Lual Odeke.
Ishmail Wainwright and Eric Rwahire will also don the Silverbacks jersey for the first time.
The Team’s Composition:
Players – Ben Komakech (City Oilers), Tony Drileba (City Oilers), Jimmy Abraham Enabu (City Oilers), Joseph Ikong Anyuru (City Oilers), James Okello (City Oilers), Stanley Mugerwa (Warriors), Titus Lual Odeke (UCU Canons), Emmanuel Mugenga (France), Ishmail Wainwright (USA), Robinson Opong (Canada), Eric Rwahire (Canada), Deng Geu (Denmark
Coaches – George Galanopolous (Head Coach), Mandy Juruni Lutwama (Assistant Coach), Andrew Tendo (Assistant coach), Mike Schmitz (Assistant Coach)
Medical – Ram Mpuuga Nyakana (Team Physiotherapist), Ivan Williams Nyenje (Team Doctor)
Team Officials – Nasser Sserunjogi (Head of Delegation), Santur Ghedi Mohamed (General Manager), Grace Kwizera (Assistant Manager), Albert Ahabwe (Assistant Manager)
The following are The Head coach who have managed the Silver Backs.
- Timothy Odeke – 2007-2009
- Mandy Juruni – 2015-2017
- George Galanopoulos – 2017
- Mandy Juruni – 2018-present
- Uganda Vs Egypt at 17:30
- Morocco Vs Cape Verde at 20:30
- Uganda Vs Morocco at 17:30
- Egypt Vs Cape Verde at 20:30