The second and last phase of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) qualifiers for the Eastern Region start on Tuesday at the Kigali Arena.
Eight teams will compete at the week-long event with Ugandan champions City Oilers among the sides that will battle for the top three spots.
Oilers have been preparing for the tournament for the last couple of weeks and head coach Mandy Juruni is pleased with the preps his charges had.
“The preparation has been good ever since we started and every day we have been progressing so we are ready for the tournament,” Juruni said after the team’s warmup game against UCU Canons.
“I wanted to see these new guys compete, see different line-ups and I like what I saw and I think they make us a better team,” he added.
From the group that played in Dar es Salaam during the first phase of the qualifiers, three additions have been made to replace injured Francis Azolibe and Stephen Omony and also upgrade the roster.
Devonte Elliot, Trey Petty, and Ivan Lumanyika were added to reinforce the team and Juruni is full of praise for the additions.
“They read the game well and they score at a high percentage and that is very important for us because one of the things we do as City Oil is that we can find that open man.
“We thought we wanted guys who can read the game and guys who can score the ball and make plays and that’s what we have with these guys.
“I think we have prepared very well and we are much better than we were in Dar es Salaam so I’m very comfortable with the team.”
On Ivan Lumanyika, Juruni said: “He has been training hard, he wants to do better and he is fine and focused.”
Juruni feels the whole squad will be able to contribute and is confident their primary goal of qualification will be achieved.
“The best thing about this team is that we have a bunch of guys who can step on the court to play and deliver. These guys have played at even a higher level than this and we trust them.
“We are going out there to qualify and that has always been our goal since this league was created. I think we are good enough to qualify.”
The Team: Ivan Muhwezi, Josh Johnson, Jimmy Enabu, Ben Komakech, Jordin Mayes, Robinson Opong, Devonte Elliot, James Okello, Landry Ndikumana, Ivan Lumanyika, Trey Petty, Tonny Drileba
City Oilers Group Fixtures
- Tuesday, December 17: vs. KPA
- Wednesday, December 18: vs. Ferrovario Maputo
- Thursday, December 19: vs. COBRA