Wednesday, August 2
•Cameroon 77-80 Senegal
•Mali 96-40 Guinea
•Rwanda 66-61 Uganda
•Nigeria 59-52 Mozambique
Thursday, August 3
•Cameroon Vs Guinea, 1pm
•Uganda Vs Mozambique, 4pm
•Rwanda Vs Nigeria, 7pm
•Senegal Vs Mali, 10pm
Uganda Women’s National Basketball team, the Gazelles, will start their Classification games against Mozambique at the ongoing 2023 FIBA Women Afrobasket in Kigali.
The Gazelles lost 61-66 to hosts Rwanda in one of the quarterfinal games on Wednesday.
While the four winners of the respective quarterfinals advance to the semis, the beaten sides vie for positions 5 to 8 in the classification rounds.
The classification semis pair Uganda against Mozambique while Cameroon meet Guinea in the other tie.
A win sees Gazelles face of with winner between Cameroon and Guinea for who finishes 5 or 6th.
While a defeat will see Uganda meet loser of the Guinea/Cameroon semis for 7-8 placement game.
Whatever the results from Uganda’s classification run, it’s guaranteed that Uganda will finish 5-8, which is set to be their best achievement at the competition.
This is Uganda’s third Women Afrobasket tournament – The Gazelles finished 9th on debut in 1997 Kenya and 10th in 2015 in Cameroon.
But a couple of fans will still feel the Gazelles could have gone an extra mile judging by the manner in which they lost against Rwanda.
The Gazelles led by 11 after the first quarter, but allowed Rwanda back into the contest after the side threaded a 20-point unanswered spell to take command.
Jane Asinde’s injury proved the hugest blow to spark of Uganda’s collapse, and it remains unlikely for the forward to take part in the next games.
“The team we have now is still young and I believe in every one of the ladies right now,” said Gazelles Centre Melissa.
And despite the loss, Akullu says that there is still a lot to play for.
“We are not yet done and we want leave a mark somewhere. We would have never imagined for our team to make this far.
“It’s just exciting for us to be here, the girls are super hungry and the sky is the limit. We want to be better and we feel we are not done.”
The Gazelles will hope to make amends against Mozambique after shooting blues in the loss against Rwanda.
They missed 18 of their 19 attempts from outside the perimeter in a game Point Guard Lydia Babirye was 0-for-9 from that range.
Uganda also committed 26 turnovers, 10 more than Rwanda despite out-rebounding the hosts 63-44.
Uganda also allowed Rwanda to make a couple of uncontested three-point shots and the punishment was certain.
Against Mozambique, the environment may not be hostile as it was against the hosts who were cheered on by a big crowd including Country President Paul Kagame.
But Uganda faces a more experienced side that has reached the Afrobasket final thrice – 1983, 1986 and 2013 – despite losing at all occasions.
It’s also strong to note that Mozambique beat Uganda 73-50, with Maureen Amoding and Martha Soigi scoring 12 points each but in vain – back at the 2015 Women Afrobasket.
Mozambique, coached by Carlos Aik, reached the Quarterfinal after eliminating Ivory Coast 70-48.
Earlier, they lost to Cameroon (53-55) before beating Guinea (99-40) to finish second in their group.
In the Quarterfinals, they pushed Nigeria to the wire before the defending champions edged the tight contest 59-52.
Tamara Seda, Agostinho Macauro and Silvia Veloso will be the stars to watch for this Mozambique team that has promised so much but fallen short on a couple of occasions.
How to watch – The Games will be broadcast live on Sports Life (StarTimes)