Silverbacks skipper Jimmy Enabu has stressed that the team is in the right mindset as the 2021 Afrobasket tournament tip-off edges closer.
The Silverbacks overcame financial adversity to make their appearance at the showpiece a reality and are currently in a three-day quarantine in Kigali before they head for a bubble.
The number of players in camp swelled on Thursday after Canadian based duo of Robinson Opongo Odoch and Eric Rwahire joined the cast of locally based players in camp.
And Skipper and City Oilers talisman Jimmy Enabu is adamant that the team is the “good mindset” despite preparations for the tournament being nothing but off-color.
“First of all, I feel great that we managed to make the trip.” Enabu reaveled.
“Coming here wasn’t something easy and preparations have also not been easy. The mindset is good and we promise a good show in the tournament.
Pandemic not an excuse.
Uganda returns to the coveted tournament for the third time but unlike previous tournaments preceding, the 2021 edition has been a tale of financial constraints thanks to the outbreak of Covid19 pandemic.
But Enabu says the prevailing demanding conditions won’t be an excuse for them to perform.
“We embraced the challenge because we know it’s not only us going through this but instead every where in the world. Our focus is on the task at hand,” Enabu stressed.
But while the local contingent are in Kigali, a host of foreign based players including coach Galanopouls are not yet in camp by press time.
The tournament tips-off on 24 August with Uganda taking on Senegal in their opener on 25th at 6pm EAT.
Even though adversity has shrouded Sliverbacks’ preparations for the 2021 Afrobasket finals, Sound bytes of encouragement are coming from the team’s camp from Kigali.
The team left on Wednesday morning, just a week to the tournament proper, following last minute financial bail out from Government.
Team Manager Grace Kwizera has preached positivity ahead of the games that tip-off on August 24th to September 5th.
“We have already achieved small victories as a team as we managed to leave Kampala and we are in Kigali, done our COVID-19 tests which turned out negative for the entire contingent,” Kwizera said.
“We are making progress and hoping to finish the quarantine and get into the business end of our trip and do as well as we think we can do.”
Kwizera also revealed that the team will now be in quarantine for just three days rather than the seven that had earlier been anticipated.
“First, we have to thank the government of Rwanda and the their Basketball federation for making it easier for us.
“They have understood our needs as a Sporting federation and reduced the time that we should spend in quarantine.
“We now expect that we shall do quarantine for three days and after we shall be able to entre the bubble and prepare from there before the tournament that starts 24th.”
Kwezira added that they will work within their means despite travelling to Rwanda UGX 360M short according to FUBA.
“We will work with what we have and do our very best.
“We are grateful to the government of Uganda because our efforts over the last couple of years are bearing fruit, we are now recognized in Parliament and our ministers are in the know of our activities and are happy about the direction we are taking.
“It means that they see the progress of the team and we set very high standards of our selves and we would like to see our selves in the final of this tournament and we will push our selves as hard as possible.”
Players in camp currently
Jimmy Enabu (City Oilers), Tonny Drilleba (City Oilers), Ben Komakech (City Oilers), Titus Odeke Lual (UCU Canons), James Okello (City Oilers), Robinson Opong (Canada), Eric Rwahwire (Canada)
Uganda’s group games at 2021 AfroBasket
-Senegal vs Uganda, 25th August
-Uganda vs Cameroon, 27th August
-South Sudan vs Uganda, 29th August
The 2021 AfroBasket groups
Group A: Rwanda, DR Congo, Angola, Cape Verde
Group B: Tunisia, Central Africa Republic, Egypt, Guinea
Group C: Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali
Group D: Senegal, Cameroon, South Sudan, Uganda