Silvebacks head coach George Galanopoulos and assistant Mandy Juruni Credit: Isa Mepengo

Uganda’s best run at the FIBA AfroBasket ended with Silverbacks’ quarterfinals exit at the 2021 edition on Thursday.

The Silverbacks fell to Cape Verde at Kigali Arena in a game head coach George Galanopoulos was convinced is winnable.

“There’s a lot of emotion right now,” Galanopoulos said in the post-game presser flanked by James Okello. “When you really truly with all your heart believe that you are going to win and that you got the group to do it and you think there’s kind of divine power on your side and it doesn’t go that way, it’s a little disappointing.”

The Islanders’ center Walter Tavares troubled Silverbacks’ interior defense all night and the task of stopping the big man was designated to back up center James Okello who logged his tournament-high 23 minutes.

“I’m definitely not disappointed in our effort. I have never been more proud of a group my entire life, their fight especially this guy right here (James Okello). He exemplifies everything that our team is all about. You saw him he is a 6’4″ backup center battling his butt off with one of the best bigs in Europe arguably an NBA player 7’3″ and to see just the fight that he put up every single possession it makes really proud and that’s a microcosm of what our team is all about.”

Galanopoulos says the game came down to Silverbacks failing to capitalize on the turnover but feels the future of the national side is bright.

“I’m extremely excited for the future. I told the guys in the locker room they should be proud of themselves. I wish I could have done a little bit more personally to put them in positions to succeed especially offensively today. I think the key of the game was our inability to capitalize off their turnovers. They had 22 we didn’t turn the ball over but we just didn’t shoot it well. Besides that, you can look at all the other numbers.”

Next up for Uganda are FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 qualifiers that start in November.

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

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