Uganda’s Junior Women national basketball team, Junor Gazelles, defied odds to win the Zone V U16 championship early this year in Rwanda.

The triumph helped the Junior Gazelles book a berth to the FIBA Africa U16 Women’s Championship that will be hosted by Rwanda between 26th July to 4th August 2019.

This will be the maiden appearance for Uganda at the coveted continental championship.

Whereas debuts are about learning and always difficult, coach Roger Sserunyigo is hoping for a good show from his charges.

Sserunyigo believes this is a good opportunity to expose the players to such competition but he is confident his troops are ready for the task.

“It is not easy to play at such levels but the chance is before us and we must use it to our best. We are going to compete not to participate despite this being our maiden appearance,” he said.

The team comprised of twelve players was flagged off on Thursday at the Uganda Olympic Offices in Kampala and will travel to Rwanda by road on Friday.

However, the Junior Gazelles travel amidst financial challenges with the Federation of Uganda Basketball Associations (FUBA) President, Nasser Sserunjogi indicating they did not get support from the government.

“We have had challenges in finances but we can’t sit back and wait, we have to do everything in our means so that the team goes to Rwanda. I call upon government through National Council of Sports to fund the team because this is not personal property,” he said as quoted by Sports Nation.

The team has been in residential camp at Africa Bible University in Lubowa for the last ten days.

The Junior Gazelles will battle hosts Rwanda, record champions Mali, South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique and Angola.

The top two teams at the championship will qualify for next year’s FIBA U17 Women’s World Cup in Romania.

Junior Gazelles Squad: Mary Moses Amanyo, Esther Kwagala, Mary Najjuma, Michelle Aber Linda, Peninah Nabakooza, Sheila Aber Lamunu, Patience Nantume, Sharifa Nalwadda, Lydia Babirye, Sylvia Namuddu, Joyce Nyapendi, Regina Ajuma

Coaches: Roger Sserunyigo and Harriet Lubowa

Head of Delegation: Hudson Ssegamwenge (FUBA, General Secretary)

Joel Muyita is a senior staff writer at Kawowo Sports.

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