Uganda’s senior men national basketball team, the Silverbacks, with less to lose, beat Rwanda 77-71 in last Zone Five Championship game at Indoor Arena in Lugogo, Kampala.
Playing a round robin tourney, Rwanda needed nothing but victory over Uganda to finish on top of the five team log.
Uganda’s victory consequently confirmed Kenya Morans as the 2019 Zone Five Champions, an achievement which guarantees them a ticket to the inaugural AFROCAN set in Bamako, Mali from July 19 – 28.
Both Kenya and Egypt finish the tourney having won three of the four games but Cliff Owour’s side clinch the title courtesy of a better head to head – Kenya beat Egypt 97-79 when the sides met.
The Silverbacks (2-2) finish third while Rwanda settle for fourth. Tanzania came last with four losses.
Uganda Revenge On Rwanda
The fixture on Monday landed almost on the same date last year (on July 2 2018) when Uganda lost 92-79 to Rwanda in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers in Lagos, Nigeria.
The defeat then, ended a four-year winless streak against Uganda as Rwanda advanced to the second round of the qualifiers in what was a winner-take-all encounter.
Before then, Rwanda had last won against Uganda in January 2013 – in FIBA Africa Zone 5 championships in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The Monday game, with Uganda having all but nothing to fight for, showed that the wounds of that defeat in Nigeria were still fresh.
Trailing 27-33 at halftime, the Silverbacks fought back down the stretch to deny Rwanda.
Brandon Davies continued his heroics with a game high 18 points, Robinson Opong and Jimmy Enabu added 17 and 14 points in that order, as Uganda closed business in a respectable manner.
Rwanda’s Kami Kabange scored a team high 14 points while Elie Kaje and Kenny Gasana managed 11 points each in a losing effort.
Kenya Deserved Champions
Kenya, together with Tanzania were underdogs coming into the tournament but managed to defy odds in Kampala.
Playing with a strong starting five of Erick Reuben Mutooro, Griffin Ligare, Tyler Ongwae Okari, Tom Bush Wamboka and Blacio Desmond Owili, the side were indomitable.
They were physical especially in the game they obliterated Egypt thanks to Okari’s 29 points before they turned the arena into a dance floor after the final buzzer.
The side had a good start when they beat hosts Uganda in the opener, and that set the tone. However, a loss to Kenneth Gasana inspired Rwanda on Sunday almost blew the title away from their hands.
Egypt Take Women Crown But Kenya Smile As Well
Egypt managed to live as advertised – The side beat Kenya in the finals 90-72 to win the Zone Five Championship Women trophy.
Reem Awad weighed in with 16 points, Raneem Elgedawy and Menatalla Awad added 15 and 13 points respectively for the strong Egypt team.
Consequently, Egypt takes the ticket to represent Zone Five in this year’s AfroBasket set from 9th to 18th August in Senegal. Also Egypt will play at the All Africa Games in Morocco.
Prior to the Sunday finals, confirmed reports clarified that Zone Five (Women) will be given two places at the AfroBasket, hence Kenya qualifies on a wild card.
Uganda beat Rwanda in the other loser’s match 68-64 with Rita Imanishimwe scoring 15 points while Claire Lamunu adding 17 rebounds.
Rwanda, despite strong individual performances especially from Tierra Monay Henderson and Rosine Micomyiza, leaves the tournament without recording a single win in the Women category.
Awards List of winners
*Fair Play – Team Tanzania
*Best rebounder – Brandon Davies (Uganda)
*Best Scorer – Baraka Anthumani (Tanzania)
*MVP – Tyler Okari Ongwae (Kenya)
*Fair Play – Team Rwanda
*Best Rebounder – Felmas Adhiambo (Kenya)
*Best Scorer – Tierra Henderson (Rwanda)
*MVP – Menatalla Awag (Egypt)
This story is being updated