Wednesday, September 1
*Senegal 79-74 Angola
*Ivory Coast 98-50 Guinea
Thursday, September 2
*Tunisia Vs South Sudan – 4pm
*Cape Verde Vs Uganda – 7pm
Uganda’s senior men national basketball team, the Silverbacks meet their Cape Verde counterparts on Wednesday at the Quarterfinal of the 2021 FIBA Afrobasket in Kigali.
Uganda made the last eight for the first time after eliminating 2015 champions Nigeria with an 80-68 victory on Tuesday in one of the playoffs game.
Cape Verde is at this stage having qualified direct after topping Group A ahead of hosts Rwanda, Angola and DR Congo.
Uganda is playing their third (straight) Afrobasket while its the seventh for Cape Verde who beat Egypt 53-51 to win Bronze at 2017 tourney in Angola.
Despite being devoid of pedigree, the Silverbacks will bank on recent sucesss between the two sides in November last year.
Then, in Group E of the Qualifiers, Uganda beat Cape Verde 101-98 in Alexandria (Egypt) – Ishmail Wainright led the way with a game-high 36 points and 13 rebounds. Deng Geu and Jimmy Enabu scored 17 points each while Robinson Opong contributed 16 points.
On Wednesday, Senegal and Ivory Coast set up a semifinal tie after ousting Angola and Guinea in that order.
If Silverbacks overcome Cape Verde, they meet winner between South Sudan and defending champions Tunisia.
The semifinals will be held on Saturday before Sunday’s final at the Kigali Arena.
Preview: Dark horses Silverbacks defying odds
For every tournament, there is always that team that defy the odds, pull off a few upsets and make agonisingly close run to the final.
Whlist everyone loves a dark horse, and for the 2021 Afrobasket tournament, there is a team that have been bandied about with this moniker, The Uganda Sliverbacks fit the bill, literally.
Uganda’s participation at biennial tournament was borderline miracle, to put it mildly. Financial constraints, no adaquate preparations, no training camps and the playing squad scattered around the world, Uganda’s fortunes at tournament looked break.
The side’s third appearance at the Continental showpiece reckoned for rude awakening. Everything looked at jumbled and at crossroads for the Sliverbacks.
However, FUBA never threw in a towel, and devised all means for the National team to make the trip to Kigali.
But the rags-to-riches story Coach Galanopoulos and his charges are scripting in Kigali a mdist adversity will remain etched in the memories of Basketball fans.
The side’s 80-68 headlining victory over African top seeds Nigeria on Tuesday has changed Uganda’s tag from “participants” to “contenders”.
They are defying odds and look every inch the dark horses of the tournament.
So you write them off at your own peril!
Led by Candanian based Robinson Opongo Odoch who scored 19 points, the Silverbacks dispatched their Nigerian opponents with consummate ease to book their passage to the quarter finals were they will play Cape Verde on Thursday.
It was a sight to behold at the final whistle. While the Nigerians dropped to their knees wearing aghast faces, the Silverbacks were chest thumping and jubilant for pulling of such a high profile scalp.
“I don’t have much words but what I can say is that it’s Big for Uganda”, Opongo who was gasping for breath at the final whistle stated.
After losing to neighbours South Sudan 86-84 to book a date with Nigeria, critics were steadfast to write Uganda’s obituary. But Coach Galanopouls and his gallant men had other ideas.
They thrived on good defense and razor sharp shooting to bring down the Nigerians crushing.
“The team has very talented players that can play Basketball,” American gaffer Galanopoulos stated.
“We didn’t have much preparations but I have been confident about this team. We have prepared day by day and look forward to our next opponents.”
While the Sliverbacks are faring with distinction on the court of play, they are still contending with financial constraints in Kigali. FUBA is still in search of finances to foot the player’s bills in Kigali as the team countinues to prolong their stay at the coveted tournament.
Probable Starting Fives:
Uganda – Jimmy Enabu, Adam Seiko, Arthur Kaluma, John Deng Geu, Ishmail Wainright
Cape Verde – Jeffrey Nunes Xavier, Ivan Almeida, Fidel Mendoca, Joel Almeida, Walter Tavares
How To Watch
- The games are broadcast live on StarTimes (Sports Focus/Life, Sanyuka TV and Wan Luo TV)