The Uganda Basketball men’s team, the Silverbacks, have on Saturday left for Alexandria, Egypt ahead of the 2021 FIBA Afrobasket Qualifiers.
The side will face hosts Egypt, Morocco and Cape Verde in a four-team tournament at Kamal Shalaby venue due November 27-29 in the first window.
With the second window set in February 19-21 next year, the Silverbacks targets a spot inside the top three to qualify for the Finals in Kigali, Rwanda due 24 August to 5 September 2021.
Team captain Jimmy Enabu is positive and confident about the qualification chances despite being placed in a tricky group.
“We have two more weeks to prepare in Egypt, we are going into the tournament with a positive mindset,” Enabu said.
“We don’t want to think that our group is hard or impossible. We are going into this campaign to win three games, whatever comes out of the campaign, we would have given our best, we are not worried about who is in our group.”
The Silverbacks are targeting a third straight return to the finals having featured at the big stage in 2015 and 2017.
However, they will have to negotiate past tough but familiar opponents in Alexandria.
“Every game starts at zero-zero, we have trained hard, we hope to have more better preparations,” Enabu added.
The Silverbacks team of National Basketball League players has been training at Lugogo Arena before Saturday’s departure.
However, fitness levels will be a main hurdle for the players who have not played competitive basketball for almost a year after the 2020 NBL season was called off due to Covid19 pandemic.
Enabu states: “It has been different, but like anything else, we have to find away to bounce back, we can’t complain about spilt milk, we have another opportunity ahead of us, so we have to take it as a challenge.”
After the local camp, seven players were selected. These, will be joined by five foreign-based contingent in Alexandria.
Samuel Kalwanyi pulled out due to personal reasons while David ‘Dikong’ Deng Kongoror switched his allegiance to South Sudan.
“Kalwanyi was going to be a good addition but we are confident with the players that we have,” Enabu added.