It had taken Uganda six months to prepare for the FIBA Africa Zone 5 Championship and fortunately our two teams on Sunday qualified for the 2015 Afro Basketball and the All Africa Games.
The women and men’s teams needed to beat Kenya and Rwanda respectively in the final games of the to qualify, and they did not disappoint their fans at the Lugogo MTN Arena.
The Uganda Gazelles made sure they beat defending champions Kenya 64-61 in a tense match with Claire Lamunu scoring 24 points and Rebecca Akullo 11. Kenya had Hilda Luvandwa top score with 21 points, while Samba Mjomba had 12 points.
Peace Proscovia who helped the Uganda Netball team qualify for the 2015 World during the qualifiers in Botswana over a week ago was also in good form defensively for Uganda Gazelles.
Head coach Timothy Odeke said he was happy that after losing two games in this round robin battle his team managed to fight back and win two games to top the table with better score margins. Egypt’s women team finished second.
In the men’s category, Uganda Silverbacks never disappointed and made sure they finished second behind Egypt with a 69-61over Rwanda. The much more experienced Rwanda team that represented the region in last year’s Afro Basketball event were dominant when the game started, but the Uganda Silverbacks team lead by captain Steven Omwony fought back strongly.
Omwony finished with a game high 25 points, while foreign based Ivan Lumanyika picked 13 points. Kami Kabange who features for Uganda League Champions City Oilers top scored for the Rwanda team with 16 points.
Egypt who beat all the teams in the men’s category received the winners trophy at the prize giving ceremony, while Uganda’s Gazelles took the women’s trophy.
Ambrose Tashobya, President Federation of Uganda Basketball Association (FUBA) said they were happy the two teams had qualified for the Afro Basketball and All Africa Games. It has been hard work, but we are glad several stakeholders came on board to help us be able to achieve this,” added Tashobya.
The Championship attracted national teams from Kenya, Somalia, Egypt Rwanda and hosts Uganda.