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Afrobasket: Silverbacks Fairytale Ends With Cape Verde Defeat

Uganda fell to a resolute Cape Verde, 79-71, to bundle out of the 2021 FIBA Afrobasket at the Quarterfinals stage on Thursday.

The Silverbacks went down fighting in a game they showed great resolve at the Kigali Arena.

The loss ends an impressive run for a team whose campaign was overshadowed by financial hardships.

Arthur Kaluma scored a team high 21 points while Ishmail Wainright added 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists in the losing effort.

The lanky Walter Tavares proved handful for the Silverbacks, scoring 22 points and 15 rebounds as Cape Verde revenged their 101-98 loss in the Qualifiers last year in November.

Ishmail Wainright (right).

Reaching the quarterfinal stage is the best achievement for Uganda who were taking part in their third straight Afrobasket.

Cape Verde face Tunisia in the semifinal while Senegal and Ivory Coast meet in the other tie.

Uganda will now shift attention to the 2023 FIBA Afrobasket Qualifiers where they are pitted in Group A against Nigeria, Mali and Cape Verde.

Silverbacks Bows Out Heads High

Silverbacks leaves a strong mark at the tournament after surpassing their expectations in Kigali.

They will look back at this tournament as total success having registered some headline scores including the 80-68 win over Africa’s number one Nigeria.

The team’s chances to participate at the tournament hanged on a thread a week before the tip-off the championship due to lack of timely funds from Government.

And the team, that regrouped without a single training session, arrived in Kigali six days to tip off, before they were subjected to three days in quarantine.

After a rude welcome against Senegal, the Silverbacks came back stronger to beat Cameroon for their second ever win at the tournament.

The two-point loss against South Sudan was very hurting but not damaging after the side had booked their place in the playoffs where they beat Nigeria.

On Thursday, despite a poor start, Silverbacks continued to rally back and gave themselves a chance in the contest.

Trailing 24-20 after the first break, Adam Seiko and Eric Rwahwire drilled in deep threes to open the second quarter and handed Uganda a two-point slender lead.

However, Uganda’s effort waned to close the quarter with shooting 0-for-5 as Cape Verde took a 7-0 run to lead 43-35 at halftime.

The sides continued to trade blows but the Silverbacks shots failed to drop on various attempts as Cape Verde stretched their lead before out lasting Uganda to win an eight point game.

Man-mountain Tavares with the ball. FIBA photo

James Okello looked excellent in extended stretches to contain Walter Tavares, but Uganda struggled on boards in a game they were out rebounded 50-38.

Despite making 13 turnovers against Cape Verde’s 22, but Uganda will feel hard done by their shooting blues on an intense evening.

Robinson Opong Odoch, off a 19-point game against Nigeria, went just 1-for-6 from field as an entire team shot 32.9%.


Brian Kawalya

Brian Kawalya

Chief Sports Writer
Brian Kawalya is an Award winning Journalist, Director and Chief Sports Writer of The-SportsNation, covering top events and breaking some of the biggest stories.
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