When the Zone V Nations’ championship gets underway in Cairo, Egypt, Uganda men’s team, Silverbacks, will not expect to face a weak team at that level.
Team captain Steven Omony told Kawowo Sports that the side will give their opponents the same respect as they try to qualify for the 2017 Afrobasket championship.
“Every opponent will be tough so we are not going to take anyone lightly,” he said after the team’s training session Monday night.
Uganda’s biggest challengers are expected to be the hosts, Egypt, neighbours Rwanda and Kenya when the fight for the two available slots starts on March 12.
Team Uganda, amidst the financial constraints, started week 3 of training on Monday with head coach Mandy Juruni trying to bring out the structure in which he wants the team to play.
“We are working hard in practice and so far everyone is in good shape for the tournament,” Omony added.
Last week,veteran center Henry Malinga became the first player to drop off the team with his work schedule barring him from the team’s practice sessions.
The battle for places is now amongst the eleven available players with eight of those needed before the team leaves for Cairo on February 24.
New faces James Okello, Jonathan Egau and Mike Madol have shown glimpses of brilliance in the sessions and will fancy their chances of making the team even though they look like the easy options to be dropped.
“They have showed that they can play for the national team,” Omony said of the three players who got their first call ups.
Team Uganda is expected to travel to Egypt on February 24.
Uganda hosted the qualifiers in 2014 and managed to qualify for the first time ahead of Rwanda and Kenya.
With only two slots available for all the Zone V nations, Uganda’s realistic goal will be to fight for second place with Rwanda and Kenya.
Rwanda started their training late last year while Kenya named their team on Monday.
Hosts Egypt are camping in Dubai in preparations for the event.