Mandy Juruni Credit: FUBA

As Uganda’s national men’s basketball team continues to prepare for the second leg of the FIBA AfroBasket Qualifiers, coach Mandy Juruni is pleased with the progress.

The team of locally-based players has been training at the Africa Bible University is Lubowa and Juruni says the focus is now going to game mode.

“Right now we are still concentrating on players getting back in game mode especially.

“The fitness level is not bad, we have been training since towards the end of last year and this the continuation of those sessions that we had, so now we are at a stage where we want to concentrate on our plays.

“We will be well prepared when we get into the camp and have everyone training together. So at the moment, we have 12 players who are training here. Obviously, we will have a camp later that should get us to where we really want.”

Last week, Joseph Ikong and Tony Drileba joined the team and it’s now full house for locally-based players.

“It’s good for us, once we have numbers at training the guys really compete hard and training sessions really show that everyone is putting in effort but when the numbers are very small it somehow affects our training plans.

“It’s good to have Ikong and Drilleba back. Hopefully, we have all the 12 guys to push on until the end of this month.”

The second round of the qualifiers will be played from February 17-21 in Monastir, Tunisia and if there anything that the Silverbacks need to improve from the first window is the defending.

Juruni is well aware of how important it is to improve the team defense.

“We work both on individual one-on-one defense, team defense and transition defense – that has to be worked on every training that we have.

“The players are very focused in training, they know what lies ahead. We know that the second round is always tough, so mentally (and) physically we prepare ourselves because we are not comfortable where we are.

“We still think that we can do more and we always going to push that because every game we are going to play is not going to be easy for us, so we have to work hard.”

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

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