The Silverbacks edged out the Oilers 88-87 in an entertaining match-up that impressed Wang so much that he is reported to have pledged new support to national teams i
Silverbacks 88 City Oilers 87
While Tuesday's basketball affair between the select Uganda Silverbacks and City Oilers was awash with positive vibes, National Team Management Committee chairman Mohammed Santur was disappointed with the failure or refusal of certain players to turn up for national duty.
Santur named Syrus Kiviri and Ivan Lumanyika, who were called to train ahead of the friendly match that was aimed as a sponsorship pitch to LingLong chairman Feng Wang but totally ignored the invite.
"They did not even communicate," Santur explained.
"I don't understand why some players are not driven to play for the national team. I don't get it. This was a wonderful opportunity for us to get sponsorship for Uganda and I would have expected invited players to be eager to be part of it.
"But even today, we had some players turn up late for the game and I find that very surprising. I believe players should be dying to wear the national shirt so I am confused when some players don't show any interest."
The Silverbacks edged out the Oilers 88-87 in an entertaining match-up that impressed Wang so much that he is reported to have pledged new support to national teams in addition to LingLong Tyres' on-going partnership with LingLong.
Still, Santur would have loved for all the players who were invited to have participated. Kiviri and Lumanyika were fixtures in the national team setup two years ago and, in fact, the latter was one of Uganda's top performers during the 2014 Afrobasket Qualifiers in which the country secured a maiden appearance at the continental showpiece.
But Lumanyika appears to have lost interest in the national team after failing to make the cut for last year's Afrobasket Championship while Kiviri also turned his focus away from Team Uganda after missing the squad for the 2014 Afrobasket Qualifiers.
Critics argue that the Silverbacks' are too reliant on foreign-based players, which automatically limits the chances of home-based prospects like Lumanyika and Kiviri. Still others feel there is a perceived bias towards players who belong to three-time National Basketball League champions Oilers because of dominance of the Oilers hierarchy in the Silverbacks setup.
However, both accusations are not entirely supported by the facts as the foreign contingent have always outperformed their local compatriots in national team try-outs meanwhile the alleged bias towards Oilers players is simply not consistent with the competitive nature of Santur or Silverbacks/Oilers coach Mandy Juruni.