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Afrobasket qualifiers men: Races for places

By Charles Mutebi

Added 10th February 2017 05:23 PM

Juruni is hoping to choose from a pool of as many as seven foreign-based players

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Silverbacks coach Mandy Juruni

Juruni is hoping to choose from a pool of as many as seven foreign-based players

The home-based competition for places is tight while there is potentially plenty of help on the way from abroad.
 
With just over a month to the start of the FIBA Africa Zone V Afrobasket Qualifiers in Egypt, the Uganda Silverbacks are shaping up into a well-rounded unit with a healthy balance of options.
 
It's the kind of scenario that could end up in a welcome selection headache for Silverbacks coach Mandy Juruni.
 
"Yes, (if we get all the foreign-based players on board) Mandy will have some work to do in choosing his final team," conceded Team Uganda coordinator Albert Ahabwe.
 
Juruni is hoping to choose from a pool of as many as seven foreign-based players including Stanley Ociti, John Balwegaire, Brandon Ssebirumbi, Kassim Nagwere and Josh Johnson and the 11 local players who are in training.
 
While Ssebirumbi's availability for the Cairo Qualifiers depends on the seemingly unlikely scenario of his Japanese club consenting to a midseason release of their starting centre, Juruni should still end up with plenty of options at his disposal.
 
For instance, the local contingent have made a good account of themselves in the ongoing non-residential training with players like Ivan Lumanyika, Norman Blick, Jonathan Egau and Mike Madol all pushing hard for selection with impressive discipline and or play.
 
Lumanyika and Blick have been engaged and have shown a strong desire to be part of the team, something that's not always been the case while debutants Egau and Madol have done all the talking with their play.
 
It means Silverbacks frontrunners like Stephen Omony, Ben Komakech, Jimmy Enabu and Joseph Ikong cannot take their selection for granted.
 
The Silverbacks are hoping to return to their second consecutive Afrobasket after 2015 and will need to finish in the top two in Egypt to reach the continental showpiece that will held in Brazaville August 17-31. ​

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