James Okello Weighs In On Silverbacks Clash Against Morocco

James Okello in action against Morocco during the first window in November.

Silverbacks Power forward cum centre James Okello says Uganda needs to improve on defence if they are to go past Morocco in the coming Afrobasket qualifiers.

Okello, in an interview with The-SportsNation also added that preparation for the game must also be key ahead of the match that will be played on July 8.

This match is one of Uganda’s Group E rescheduled games of the FIBA Afrobasket Qualifiers after the team missed the second window in February due to Covid19.

Then, five members of Uganda’s delegation tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Tunis.

FIBA decided to postpone the matches, saying that Uganda’s participation in the tournament would compromise the bio-secure bubble.

“Basically we need to have good preparations, fix a few things especially defensively,” Okello told The-SportsNation.

The City Oilers big man averaged 3.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 13.6 minutes in the first window as Uganda beat Morocco and Cape Verde after falling to Egypt in the game in November last year.

Uganda’s preparations for the Morocco tie have been hit majorly by finances, while the fitness of the five local players on the summoned Silverbacks squad is under scrutiny after the local league was suspended.

Okello explains: “Of cose the suspension of the league has affected a lot of us. Its now that we have not played close to three weeks.

“However, physically we are fit because most of us have been individually working out. We will just need a few training seasons to get game fitness.”

Uganda will play Morocco and Cape Verde, needing just one win to book a place to the Afrobasket Finals which will be held in August 24 to September 5 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Egypt is one of the 14 out of 16 teams already confirmed for the Afrobasket. They topped Group E which also has Uganda, Morocco and Cape Verde.

The 2021 FIBA Afrobasket Groups draw were held in May this year in Kigali.

If Uganda finish second in Group E, they will be pitted in Afrobasket Group A that has Rwanda, DR Congo and Angola.

If they qualify in number three, the Silverbacks will be placed in Group D that has Senegal, Cameroon and South Sudan.

Uganda target a place at Afrobasket for a third straight time having participated in 2015 and 2017, Okello was part of the team that took part at the latter.

He says: “Afrobasket is the biggest tournament in Africa and everyone would like to play at that stage and as a country that is were we would want to be year in year out if we want to be ranked among the best on continent.”



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