Uganda Men’s national basketball team, the Silverbacks, tipped off their preparations for the 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
The team of locally based players held their first training session on Monday afternoon at African Bible University in Lubowa.
Uganda were pitted in a Pool that has Nigeria, Mali, Cape Verde with the first window due November 26-28 in Benguela, Angola.
“The session was basically to try to assess the level of the fitness and see how sharp they are from the drills that we have gone through,” Silverbacks coach Mandy Juruni told The-SportsNation.
“We were not badly off, its just cleaning a few things and overall I think the training has been okay.”
The session started at 2pm and stretched for over two hours.
“We want to stress our identity and see how we want to play. From day one when we had a team talk, it was basically telling the players that we want to be a quick team, we are going to be defensive team and we are going to play off that. So for us to be able to do that obviously we have to be well conditioned and we have to be mentally ready to try and play the way we want to play,” Juruni added.
“We are not such a big team so we have got to rely a lot on our defense and quickness.”
Two of the locally based players – Ben Komakech and Abdihakim Ghedi – did not turn up.
Juruni stated that the duo earlier “communicated to us” about their absence and they may be available in the next sessions.
Jimmy Enabu, Tonny Drilleba, Ivan Muhwezi, Peter Obleng, Fayed Bbale, Titus Lual and James Okello were part of the Monday session.
The team was beefed up with some NBL players for training purposes.
The foreign-based players are expected to jet in later on this week.
Juruni stated: “The plan is to have them here by Wednesday or Thursday, it will all depend on our Finances but I know that they are ready to come. We expect them to arrive around Thursday that is Robinson Opong, Eric Rwahwire and Emmanuel Womala but Deng Geu and Brandon Davies are still engaged with their teams and will find us later on in Angola.”
Uganda finished sixth at the 2021 Afrobasket in Kigali and the side will be banking on recent form to upset odds.