Uganda’s junior women basketball team, he Junior Gazelles, is in Rwanda for the FIBA U16 Africa Women’s Africa Championship.
The team, under coach Roger Sserunyigo and Harriet Lubowa arrived in Kigali at 2AM on Saturday morning.
Uganda won Zone five U16 Championship in Rwanda recently this year to qualify to this stage, for the first time in history.
“Our realistic target is top four as first timers but I believe we have the capacity to surprise,” coach Sserunyigo was flank while speaking to this website.
“Remember all girls here are appearing for the first time, the difference will be on how well prepared and motivated the girls will be.”
Since inception of this youth competition, Mali has won it on all the five occasions, and are outright favourites to defend their crown.
Egypt, Angola, South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique and hosts Rwanda are the other nations to take part in a tourney that starts on Sunday.
Uganda has been camping at Africa Bible University in Lubowa since July 16 and will hope that they have done enough to stun the giants.
“We have prepared for 11 days, had friendlies against good teams like Miracle Eagles, St Noah, Angels and UMU Ravens – We only lost to Angels.
“The girls are in fine form and some are recovering from minor injuries. My focus was on speed as I want to use more if transitional offense and defense and then look at plays if all gets tight.”
The coach made changes in the team that triumphed in Zone five – Sylvia Masagorwoth and Patience Karungi have been dropped.
The new additions include Mary Moses, Sharifa Nalwadda, Lydia Babirye and Nyapendi Joyce.
Babirye was given the armband, a former Watoto student but now studying in the USA. She will be assisted by Esther Namiiro who is a Watoto as well.
“The girls have improved their shooting accuracy. Others have stepped up and are more confident like Patience Nantume, Aber Linda Michelle. Introduction of Amaniyo Mary Moses and Lydia babirye are a big boast to support Maria n Shillah respectively.
The top two teams will qualify for the 2020 FIBA Under U17 Women’s Basketball World Cup set in Cluj, Romania.