Log in
Updated minutes ago

Uganda Silverbacks face big test in Afrobasket qualifiers

A weekend of action awaits the national men’s basketball team, the Silverbacks, when they face Cape Verde, Nigeria, Morocco/Libya in group B of the Fiba Afrobasket 2025 qualifiers.

The Silverbacks, who are already in Tunisia, where the qualifiers are being held, will open their account on Friday, February 23 against Cape Verde, before Nigeria on Saturday, February 24, and conclude with either Morocco or Libya, who were involved in a pre-qualifier game by press-time.

However, Uganda travelled to Tunisia without some of their key players, captain Jimmy Enabu, NBA star Ishmael Wainwright, who is injured, and Arthur Kaluma, who is engaged in school, in the USA. That in many ways suggests that the team could be significantly weak, but also it is an opportunity for domestic stars, set to make their debuts, to put their front foot forward.

KIU Titans’ small forward Edgar Munaba and UCU Canons’ power forward Joel Kayiira have a chance to represent Uganda for the first time in their lives this weekend. Munaba is in his third season in the National Basketball League (NBL), and has since his breakthrough been viewed as a potential star. In 2023, his fine scoring abilities inspired KIU to the NBL finals, where they lost 2-4 to City Oilers.

But one thing that could not be doubted, is how much he had improved from 2022, where he still played a key role in helping his side make the playoff semifinals.

Albert Ahabwe, the Silverbacks team manager, highly touted him in 2022 as the next gem. Therefore, he is not surprised that he has now entered the Silverbacks set-up.

Munaba can handle the ball, dribble, shoot from distance, but also finish under the hoop. Maybe Munaba’s biggest challenge may be his body size at the big stage against towering opponents. At approximately 6 feet 3 inches, his speed will come in handy; otherwise, quickness of thought, will be key. However, height is not a problem for Kayiira.

At 6 feet 8 inches, Kayiira provides the size Uganda has lacked in the paint. That should enable Uganda battle relatively for the rebounds. With all said and done, it would be unreasonable to put pressure on these new players.

Comments are now closed for this entry