Mandy Juruni Credit: FIBA
[/media-credit] Mandy Juruni Credit: FIBA

At the start of the week, the Silverbacks squad for the second leg of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifiers was named.

Three players were named on the team for the first time and these are guards Jordin Mayes and Emmanuel Mugenga as well as center/forward John Deng Geu. The trio was named to replace Stanley Ocitti, Josh Johnson and Mark Opiyo.

Samuel Kalwanyi and Ivan Lumanyika were recalled to the team to replace Samuel Mukooza and Brandon Sebirumbi.

Coach Mandy Juruni is pleased with the roster knowing the other competitors in the group (Nigeria, Mali and Rwanda) will have improved rosters.

“Every time we play in these international tournaments we always improve the team but we also understand that other teams have improved as well. So it was very important for us to improve the team not just the players but we also have a strong coaching team and have better preparations than last time,” Juruni told Kawowo Sports.

“Preparation is key and also man power. Definitely these games are going to be tougher than the last time because every one wants to be in those (top) three positions,” he added.

With five excellent guards on the team, three of which are foreign based, it can be be a headache on how to use them effectively.

Asked on how it will play out with five guards Juruni said: “It’s about defining roles… If we are playing a quick game (which we play), it’s about playing good defense and any of the guys can take up the ball. Jimmy (Enabu), Jordan (Mayes), Robinson can all finish at the rim and really good shooters.”

Ivan Lumanyika was recalled to the team for the first time since playing in national team colours during the 2014 Zone V Qualifiers. Along with captain Stephen Omony, vice captain Joseph Ikong, Syrus Kiviiri, James Okello, Stanley Mugerwa and Enabu make the locally based players on the team.

“They are on the team to play,” Juruni said of the locally based players. “These players have had very good games on the national team, they are tough and we need that toughness. We believe that they can contribute and that’s why they are on the team.”

The team is currently camped in Turkey from where they will head to Nigeria for the qualifiers at the end of the month.

Franklin Kaweru is the Editor in Chief of Kawowo Sports. He is an ardent basketball enthusiast.

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