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Gazelles off to Puerto Rico for 3x3 World Cup qualifiers

By Michael Nsubuga

Added 30th April 2019 06:18 PM

The Gazelles are drawn in Pool A alongside Estonia, Australia and the hosts Puerto Rico

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NCS’ David Katende (left) flags off Uganda's 3x3 team that has Claire Lamunu (2nd left), Rita Imanishimwe, Jamila Nansikombi, Sarah Ageno and coach Nick Natuhereza. To the extreme right is FUBA president Nasser Sserunjogi. Photo by Michael Nsubuga

The Gazelles are drawn in Pool A alongside Estonia, Australia and the hosts Puerto Rico

Uganda’s 3x3 basketball coach Nick Natuhereza believes the experience gained by Uganda’s girls over the past couple of tournaments will be key in their pursuit of a World Cup slot.

The Uganda Gazelles will take part in the FIBA 3x3 World Cup qualifiers due to take place from May 4-5 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the Caribbean Islands.

The four-man team comprising of Claire Lamunu, Jamila Nansikombi, Rita Imanishimwe and Sarah Ageno were flagged off by National Council of Sports assistant general secretary David Katende at Lugogo.

“We can’t take this for granted. It is a big opportunity for us as Uganda and Uganda’s basketball at large to be able to play in the World Cup qualifiers. It is a great for the players, for me as a coach and as a federation,” Natuhereza said.

“We are excited and are well prepared to compete; we hope the experience we have had as a team will give us an edge,” Natuhereza noted.

The Gazelles are drawn in Pool A alongside Estonia, Australia and the hosts Puerto Rico while Brazil, Spain, New Zealand and Mali are in Pool B. Uganda needs to finish among the top three out of the eight contestants in order to qualify.

Team captain Jamila Nansikombi and Claire Lamunu said they expect the team to play better than during their maiden appearance last year in the Philippines.

Drawn in a tough pool alongside defending champions Russia, USA, Iran and Andorra; Uganda won two games and lost two to bow out of the championship.

“We have grown mentally and physically and worked hard so we plan to play better,” Nansikobi stated.

“We are learning from our past mistakes and I think we shall put up a great show. I think it will come down to who plays hardest,” Lamunu said.

Katende urged the team that will be led by FUBA president Nasser Sserunjogi to play hard to ensure they qualify as the top nation, for the World Cup that will be held in the Netherlands in June.

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