Tuesday, February 14
*South Sudan 🇸🇸 Vs Egypt 🇪🇬 – 5pm
*Uganda 🇺🇬 Vs Kenya 🇰🇪 – 8pm
The FIBA Zone Five Women Championship will get underway on Tuesday with two games at the Lugogo Indoor Arena.
The five-team tournament has attracted hosts Uganda, Rwanda, Egypt, Kenya and South Sudan.
The teams are battling for the one spot at this year’s Women’s Afrobasket due July 28 to August 6 2023 in Rwanda.
Rwanda already qualified as hosts, leaving the search for a qualification spot to Uganda, Kenya, Egypt and South Sudan.
This Zone V Championship makes a return to Uganda since 2019.
The previous edition was held in 2021 in Kigali, Rwanda which was won by Kenya.
Other Zone V sides like Tanzania, Burundi, Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti have not taken part.
The five-team tournament will be played in a round robin format first. Meaning that you play every opponent once (which makes it four games for every team) before the top two teams (outside Rwanda) compete in the qualification final.
It’s strong to note that Nigeria, Senegal, Mali and Cameroon who were semifinalists in the 2021 Afrobasket in Yaounde (Cameroon), joined hosts Rwanda as qualified teams for Afrobasket (an equivalent of Women AFCON in football).
Other qualified teams will be determined from their respective zones.
*Rwanda Vs South Sudan – 5pm
*Egypt Vs Uganda – 8pm
*Kenya Vs Rwanda – 5pm
*Uganda Vs South Sudan – 8pm
*Rwanda Vs Egypt – 5pm
*South Sudan Vs Kenya – 8pm
*Egypt Vs Kenya – 3pm
*Uganda Vs Rwanda – 6pm
*Third Place – 3pm
*Final – 6pm
Gazelles Seek Perfect Start
Uganda will be hoping to return to the high table as they eye a third appearance at the Women Afrobasket having made appearances at the 1997 (Kenya) and 2015 (Cameroon) editions.
Since then, the Gazelles have not returned on the continent after near misses.
It’s strong to note that the Gazelles missed out on the 2021 Zone V Championship held in Kigali due to Financial Constraints.
Uganda will be banking on home support, but they shouldn’t rest on their laurels having failed to qualify the last time the tournament was held in Kampala in 2019.
The final squad was announced on Thursday, with Zainah Lokamweri a surprise exclusion while Perus Nyamwenge and Agatha Kamwanda were also cut off.
Maria Najjuma who is now based in Richmond (Atalanta, Georgia) in the United States, joined the team on Sunday.
Jannon Otto, a naturalised player on the team, arrived on Monday night and will be part of the last practice session on Tuesday morning at the Indoor.
Coach Alberto Antuna had flight issues and is expected to jet in around midday.
The last time Uganda met Kenya, was on Sunday June 30 2019 at the Zone V in Lugogo – Kenya went on to win 67-62, to oust the Gazelles and set up a final with Egypt.
Gazelles Squad – Evelyn Nakiyingi (JKL), Shakira Nanvubya (UCU), Flavia Oketcho (JKL), Ritah Imanishimwe (JKL), Ekone Brenda (JKL), Shilla Lamunu (Magic Stormers), Leticia Awor (KCCA Leopards), Akello Hope (JKL), Bridget Aber (UCU), Sarah Ageno (JT Lady Jaguars), Jannon Otto (Luxembourg), Maria Najjuma (United States)
Kenya Out To Defend The Crown
Kenya are the Zone V Championship holders having beaten Egypt 99-83 in 2021 finals in Kigali.
They are well aware of what is at stake as they seek an eighth (1986, 1993, 1997, 2007, 2013, 2019 and 2021) qualification to Afrobasket.
They finished ninth in 2019 and their best performance was a silver medal after they were beaten by hosts Senegal in the final in 1993.
But they must negotiate past other four nations to return on the continent.
They are without foreign-based trio of Felmas Koranga, Ruth Mbugua and Eunice Silong who were in the initial squad summoned, but Victoria Reynolds, Spanish-based Mercy Wanyama and Rose Ouma made the trip.
Reynolds was named the MVP in Rwanda in 2021, and will provide huge trouble for Uganda alongside Vilma Achieng who dominated Ugandan league during her stay at UCU Lady Canons.
Kenya Squad – Natalie Akinyi, Rose Ouma, Melissa Otieno, Selina Okumu, Victoria Reynolds, Rachael Odhiambo, Madina Okot, Mercy Wanyama, Christine Akinyi, Maryann Wanjiku, Vilma Achieng Owino, Debra Obunga
How To Watch:
Locally, the games will be broadcast live on NBS Sport.
FIBA earlier announced that they will stream the qualifiers live on their YouTube Channel (now pending confirmation).
Games have been priced at Sh10,000 (ordinary) as Entrance Fee at the Lugogo Indoor Arena in Kampala.