Gazelles: Antuna Proud of Players After Afrobasket Run

Gazelles Coach Alberto Antuna with the players (FIBA photos)

Gazelles coach Alberto Antuna has hailed his prayers after writing history for Uganda at the 2023 FIBA Women’s Afrobasket.

The Gazelles finished seventh in Kigali, their best ever finish at the tournament after 9th and 10th positions in 1997 and 2015 in that order.

Uganda reached this milestone after overcoming Guinea in a classification game on Friday.

“We are seventh on the Continent and it’s something massive for us. We played good basketball and everyone who came to one game of Uganda really saw that we have an identity,” Antuna commented.

The Gazelles lost to Mali in the opener before shocking 11-time winners Senegal to finish the group second.

They eliminated DR Congo in the playoff round before falling to hosts Rwanda in the Quatterfinals in a game that turned against Uganda after an injury by Jane Asinde.

They were then beaten by Mozambique to end their quest for 5-6th chase before a win against Guinea saw the team settle for Seventh place.

“After the tough loss against Rwanda following the Asinde injury, everyone was low, everyone was affected including me, and it was not easy game to play against Mozambique.

“But she (Asinde) came back willing to help the team finish seventh and everyone’s spirit was totally different. The commitment of the whole players had during the tournament was top.

“Leving the tournament with such history, coming back after nine years, beating Senegal first time in history, finishing seventh first time in history, winning three games first time in history, it’s something crazy, we need to be happy and proud, we need to warm more for the next tournament.”

Jannon Otto scored a game high 22 points while Jane Asinde, making a return since an injury in painful Rwanda loss, added 15 points in the 85-44 win against Guinea.

Melissa Akullu, Rita Imanishimwe and Hope Akello added 9 points each in commanding display.

Every player on the Ugandan roster, outside Evelyn Nakiyinji, registered her name in the score-sheet column.

“And it’s not easy to win a game by 40. I am super happy for what happened today,” Antuna added on Friday.

“I thought we didn’t deserve to leave this tournament losing, and with this feeling of a little bit negativity, so we have been able to play better, play all the 12 players on the roster, they had fun, smiled and connected with the fans. It was the best way to finish the tournament.”



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *