If I was reminded of one thing at the just-concluded FIBA Africa Clubs Championship in Cairo, it’s the value of exposure.
It’s simply hard to quantify the worth of watching, firsthand, Africa’s finest clubs do battle in a 10-day war for silverware, positions and respect. It’s the kind of event every major stakeholder in Ugandan basketball needs to watch on a regular basis.
It, more than anything, shows what separates the best countries on the continent from Uganda. You cannot simply get that knowledge by watching Uganda’s NBL or for that matter America’s NBA, which is so far ahead to relate to at this point.
Mohammed Santur, manager of three-time Ugandan champions City Oilers, who finished ninth at the Cup said it best; “In our tribe we say, ‘He who doesn’t travel doesn’t have eyes’”
Sometimes the NBL looms large and you can get blinded. That’s why you need tournaments like the FIBA Africa Clubs Championships to constantly put the NBL into perspective and challenge it.
Ugandan basketball has come a long way and the Oilers maiden appearance at the African Cup, which is likely to be the first of many, is just the latest proof. But the gap between Africa’s top nations and Uganda is still very wide.
For one, the number of Ugandan players in the NBL who can comfortably perform at the African championships is so small it barely fills one hand. You’re talking Ben Komakech, Jimmy Enabu, Stephen Omony and perhaps Joseph Ikong. If you disagree make plans to attend next year’s championships and find out for yourself. It’s definitely worth the investment.