Silverbacks on brink of Afrobasket qualification in rescheduled games

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By Ali Mutanje

The Uganda team registered 5 COVID-19 cases in Tunisia and were kicked out of the bubble that had group E teams competing to qualify for the 2021 Afrobasket tournament in Rwanda, Kigali. 

For a while, there was no clear communication from FIBA about what would happen to the teams that were still pending qualification for the continental showpiece. 

Earlier this month, FIBA put out a list of qualified nations which included Cape Verde and Morocco which was welcomed with mixed emotions by Uganda having played and beaten the two nations during the earlier competition. 

Uganda will play its games between June 15th to July 15th in search for two teams that will play alongside Egypt in the finals. 

Egypt swept off all the teams in the group to book their place in the finals and it makes financial sense that they are not competing in the remaining qualification games. 

Uganda’s chances 

Uganda needs one win to qualify for the finals. The East African nation faces Morocco on July 15th and they hope to win that game to avoid the expenditure on trips to Cape Verde. 

FUBA has spent 704 million Uganda shillings so far in trips to Egypt and Tunisia. Finances are a major constraint to the silverbacks and they would like to avoid any more expenses if they can win the Morocco game. 

A win in Morocco would not require them to play the island nation because they would have qualified therefore the main target is to earn maximum points in the Morocco game on July 8th. 

In the event that the team loses, a trip to Cape Verde is a must and puts more pressure on the silverbacks to win that game by hook or crook. 

Contingency plan

After the COVID-19 outbreak in their camp, Albert Aha ww’s team planned to set up with more players in case of a similar outbreak or injury to the first team players. Coach Ahabwe expects all his foreign based players who were in the first round to return among whom are; Arthur Kalimantan, Deng Geu, Robinson Opong, Eric Rwahwire and Ismael Wainwrich.

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