U18 Afrobasket: Junior Gazelles Beat Hosts Madagascar in Opener

Saturday, August 6
•Madagascar 54-59 Uganda

Sunday, August 7
•Mali Vs Uganda – 3:30pm


Uganda’s U18 National Girls Basketball team, the Junior Gazelles, got off the mark at the ongoing 2022 FIBA U18 Afrobasket tournament in Madagascar.

Uganda stunned hosts Madagascar to record a 59-54 win against a raucous crowd at Antsirabe.

Diana Letaru shot 4-for-8 from three to score 18 points and 11 rebounds, Sarah Namale scored a double double of 11 points and 16 rebounds, Mariam Namukwaya had 10 points and as many rebounds while Shilla Lamunu collected 10 rebounds.

Marion Fitia and Kristina Rakotobe had 19 and 18 points respectively for Madagascar but the efforts proved not enough against a well determined Uganda.

Coach Mavita Ali (white) celebrates the win with the team. FIBA photo

“This is a massive win for us, it was against a massive crowd and has set tone for us to be mentally played for the rest of the games,” said Junior Gazelles coach Mavita Ali.

“To play against the home team is very tough and for us to come from a long trip, and where we are playing is five hours from the City we had a long flight and when we landed we had another long journey to this place so I give it to the Girls because they were very mentally tough.

“This was a very great performance, it was very important for us to set the tone for the rest of the day, we have Mali coming up and our expectations are to play well, to be able to rotate the team as much as possible so that we don’t have a lot of fatigue. We came in late and we do not have a rest day.”

Mavita said that it’s very cold in Madagascar but they have urged the Girls to remain focussed as they seek to treat each game as it comes.

Junior Gazelles players (red) put up a spirited show

Uganda led 29-23 at halftime and the lead was cut to four going into the last quarter but the Girls held on to seal a hard earned victory.

Next for Uganda is a big one against Mali who beat Algeria 124-24 on Friday before facing the latter on Monday.

The two finalists will qualify for the 2023 FIBA U19 World Cup in Madrid, Spain.

Pool B has Egypt, Angola, Tanzania (wild card) and Guinea.

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