Silverbacks stand-in coach satisfied with team performance

Silverbacks forward Stanley Mugerwa attempts a jumper against Cote d'Ivoire (FIBA IMAGE)

BASKETBALL Silverbacks stand-in coach satisfied with team performance

Ndyamuhaki J Emanzi 09:47 - 27.02.2023

The Silverbacks left the country with no single coin from government and will be glad the qualifying campaign is out of the way.

The national men’s basketball team, Silverbacks have hogged headlines for the wrong reasons the past weekend.

Their trip to Luanda, Angola for the Fiba Basketball World Cup African Qualifiers got ugly after government, through National Council of Sports, failed to avail funds for the team to travel.

On the verge of pulling out of the qualifiers on Thursday, international body Fiba came in and offered air tickets for the team to fly to Angola and honour their last three fixtures.

A group of nine players, without any preparations, left for Luanda early Friday morning and played the hosts that very day.

Uganda failed to reach the 50-point mark in three games, scored 49 against Angola, 44 in the game with Cote d’Ivoire and 47 in the last clash with Guinea.

But if these losses were supposed to bother the team, coach Andrew Tendo, who came in to fill the shoes left by George Galanopolous and Mandy Juruni, was more than impressed with the team’s effort.

“I think they (team) gave their best given the circumstances and the number of players I had available, I can’t ask for more,” Tendo said after that 88-47 loss to Guinea on Sunday.

“In a bigger picture, they were tough games but given the available players I think we have done the best that we could,” he added.

“I’m proud of the players, I feel like we did what we could.”

On top of having just nine players, Tendo had to use just six in the team’s second game, against Cote d’Ivoire on Saturday due to a jersey mix up that had Jimmy Enabu, Fayed Baale and Rogers Dauna sitting out.

The three did not have jerseys that match their numbers from the first game.

Too small

The Silverbacks were small in number and size.

James Okello, Titus Lual and Stanley Mugerwa were the only recognisable bigs on the travelling contingent.

But the trio was too small against all the three opponents and lost the rebounding contest, handing the opponents possession and second chance points.

“Our biggest issue has been mostly inside the paint.,” Tendo admitted.

“We haven’t really taken care of the ball defensively and offensively, we had a high rate of turnovers. That has been a common threat in games,” the City Oilers assistant coach noted.

Angola Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea outrebounded Uganda 63-36, 46-32 and 51-32 respectively and all won with margins in 30s.

Tasked to explain why a whole national team would travel to a tournament with just nine players and in such a state, Tendo was calm and chose diplomacy.

“We had an issue, we were hosting a tournament for the girls’ national team and we had an issue pulling resources to handle both windows in the same time.

“It was a bit challenging but I’m glad we did try and put in an effort, we’ve honoured the fixture and we are thankful.”

The Silverbacks left the country with no single coin from government and will be glad the qualifying campaign is out of the way.

The contingent of nine players, one coach, physio and team doctor is expected back in the country Tuesday morning.

Silverbacks results

Uganda 49-82 Angola

Cote d’Ivoire 89-44 Uganda

Uganda 47-88 Guinea