Robinson Odoch Opong is positive and confident ahead of City Oilers’ push for the upcoming qualifiers of the inaugural Basketball Africa League (BAL).
Opong and Jordin Mayes have been added to the Oilers roster and the duo joined the team’s training session on Monday at GEMS Cambridge.
The prolific three-point shooter is ready to lift the six time back to back National Basketball League champions to the inaugural edition.
Opong has been an integral player for the Silverbacks (Uganda senior men national basketball team) – He averaged 18 and 15 points respectively in the 2019 World Cup Qualifiers and the 2017 Afrobasket.
He was also part of the team that came short to reaching the AFROCAN, finishing third midway this year in a zone five qualifier held in Kampala.
“My shots were not falling well as many expected but we managed to finish strong and I was pleased with our level of competitiveness,” Opong reflected on the Zone five campaign.
“Its not about one guy. Its an individual sport so even if I have a bad night, the team has to make adjustments. Whoever is playing well, we try to feed the ball. Whoever is not doing well offensively, he has to help the team in other ways.”
Oilers are in group D of the qualifiers in Tanzania’s capital Dar Es Salaam that will played on October 15-20, alongside Patriots (Rwanda), JKT (Tanzania), Brave Hearts (Malawi) and Hawassa (Ethiopia).
He will team up with the likes of Stephen Omony, Landry Ndikumana, James Okello, Ivan Muhwezi, Tony Drilleba, Josh Johnson, Mayes, Chisioke Azolibe among others to terrorise the opponents.
On where he wants to play in the team and how serious they will take this first qualification window, he commented:
“Whenever the team needs me to play, I just make necessary adjustments but am usually in the wings.
“We are taking this very serious, we will not be taking chances and our main target is to finish first. We don’t know who is going to show up but we try to focus on ourselves, our job is to practice every day and make necessary adjustments and be prepared as much as we can. We cannot be worrying about the opponents. We want to be the best defensive and offensive team we can be.”
“We are fit and can run a lot, am pleased with the group of guys we have here.”
Opong previously played for Halifax Hurricanes in Canada and joined Ferroviario da Beira in Mozambique this year before signing for CD Penas Huesca in Spain.
FIBA Africa grouped 31 teams from across the continent, divided them into six groups, as they battle for the available 16 slots in the next round.
The actual tourney will begin in March 2020, with six cities hosting a regular season that will feature 12 teams divided into two conferences, with each conference playing in three cities.
The regular season will see the 12 teams play five games each for a total of 30 games, with the top three teams in each conference qualifying for the playoffs.
The six playoff teams – the ‘Super 6’ will play in a round-robin format to determine the four teams that will advance to the BAL Final Four and BAL Final in Kigali, Rwanda in late spring 2020. The BAL Final Four and BAL Final will be single-elimination games.