Uganda finished ninth out of 11 participants
Chairman national team committee Mohammed Santur believes “a lot needs to be done” for Uganda to benefit from the talented crop of youngsters who represented the country at the just concluded U-18 Afrobasket Championship in Rwanda.
Mathew Ochieng and co. featured in Uganda’s maiden appearance at the continental showpiece and finished ninth out of 11 participants, a position Santur says is not “really something to be happy about but I was happy about the experience”.
It was an experience that he says gave “learning lessons to the players, coaches and team managers about what it takes to compete at this level”.
Still, those learning lessons add up to a huge burden which Santur says leaves the “basketball fraternity with a lot of work of to do”.
He explained, “The federation alone cannot help these kids take the next step. It’s something that has to be done by the entire basketball fraternity.
“We have to get them attached to good institution clubs in the NBL like the UCU Canons, KIU Titans and the City Oilers where their development can be monitored and they logistical needs met”.
Santur warned, “Look, many of our senior national team players are getting old and we cannot rely on our foreign-based players that much now that the format for Afrobasket qualification has been changed to a home-and-away basis.
“We are going to rely on our local players going forward and that means we need to develop our young players but without adequate finances, it will always be difficult to perform well at the big tournaments. For instance, when we are going for Afrobasket tournaments, we need three month training camps to get the team ready but we usually don’t have the money to do it”.