Silverbacks team manager Albert Ahabwe says that the team was ready to play despite some members of the squad testing positive for Covid19.
Uganda suffered a major setback after her games that were due to tipoff on Thursday night in Monastir, Tunisia were called off.
Uganda was to play Egypt in the first game of the second window of the FIBA Afrobasket Qualifiers before facing Morocco (Feb 20) and Cape Verde (Feb 21).
FIBA said that five members of the delegation tested positive for COVID-19.
“We received communication at the last minute really when we were getting to the team bus to the stadium that we couldn’t be allowed to play the games due to an outbreak of Covid19,” Ahabwe stated.
“Its true, we have had a few cases of Covid19, and because of those cases, FIBA declared that we couldn’t play our games. We have to sit out and wait until we get a communication from them on when our games will be played.
“What is also true is the fact that the team was ready to play regardless of what number we had left, we had enough to meet the rule and what it says of what you able to play with. We had enough players to go out there and play. And we were able to play with whatever numbers we had left as long as they meet the basic number you can get on the basketball court with, so the guys were ready but the officials who run the tournament said we had to step out of the tournament.”
FIBA asked team Uganda to leave the bubble as soon as possible because the health and safety of all participants within the bubble “can no longer be guaranteed if the Uganda delegation remains within the competition.”
The Federation, in a statement released on Thursday night said that they are working to ensure that the members of the delegation that tested negative return home safely.
FUBA are also seeking to ensure that those who tested positive are under great care until they return negative tests and are in position to return home.
Uganda needed one win from the three fixtures against Egypt, Morocco and Cape Verde to qualify for Afrobasket later this year.
Ahabwe has detected foul play after the team’s success in the first window where they managed to beat Morocco and Cape Verde.
Ahabwe stated: “Its not a fluke, this team has gained a lot of notoriety, momentum, this is obvious for everybody who follows African Basketball to see. The success we have had as a team in the last window cannot be washed away, we have not failed to play in this tournament because of the fault of our own, we are in middle of the pandemic and this can happen to anybody.”
“We have tested negative before we came to this country, everybody came to this country negative, and those who have got the virus have got it here.
“FIBA Africa has to figure out a way these games to be played, as Uganda we will continue to be ready, we shall continue to be prepared, and hope for an opportunity to be able to defend the success that we had. We definitely believe that we were good enough to qualify, may be to top this group because we had put together a very good squad. Well balanced and credible squad and we were ready to compete.”
FIBA said that they will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and communicate any further updates regarding its competitions if necessary.
“Whatever has happened is no fault of our own and we are waiting for FIBA to give us feedback on when we can compete and defend our ticket at Afrobasket. As it stands right now, we are waiting for the word from FIBA and we are confident that it shall come,” Ahabwe added.
“The most important thing is the healthy of our team, those who have contracted the virus we have got to do everything in our power to ensure their wellbeing and get to them to the point they return. We are family.”
The 2021 Afrobasket will be held in Kigali, Rwanda due August 24 to September 5.