Group E Fixtures | Thursday, February 18
- Cape Verde vs. Morocco – 1:00pm (EAT)
- Uganda vs. Egypt – 10:00pm (EAT)
Since Uganda’s largely successful first leg of the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers, there has been one clear voice across the board. Silverbacks have to improve their defense.
The coaching staff and players have repeatedly said they have to play better on the defensive end and the practice over the past few weeks has been focused on getting better.
And on Thursday night, the strides that have been taken by Silverbacks at the defensive end of the court will be to test when they take on group leaders Egypt at Mohamed-Mzali Sports Hall.
“I feel we have prepared very well for the games that start on Thursday,” coach Mandy Juruni said.
“Basing on what we have observed in training, we believe we have gotten better all round and players have recognized that we need to defend better. We have focused a lot on defense during the sessions and tried to iron out a few issues that we feel did not go well in the first round,” added the soft spoken coach.
Despite going neck to neck with Egypt in the first three quarters during the first meeting, Silverbacks’ wheels fell off in the fourth quarter and lost the game 96-77. Ishmail Wainright, Uganda’s defensive anchor, got into foul trouble and none of the frontcourt players matched his output.
Juruni says having played the opponents before and been that close gives the group confidence heading into the tie.
“The way we played in the first round gave us a lot of confidence going into the next games. We have faced these teams so we are not going in blind which should be a good thing but there’s not going to be an easy game.”
Ehab Saleh could prove to be a handful for Silverbacks around the perimeter. Jimmy Enabu and Tony Drileba have to keep a close eye on the Al Ahly guard.
The Silverbacks play a very high-intensity game given the size of the players and with the versatility across the board, Uganda will thrive on quick transition and shooting.