Kampala. The men’s national basketball team, the Silverbacks, finished the first round first leg of the 2019 World Cup Qualifiers in second position behind Nigeria.
With one win in three games, the Silverbacks just edged out hosts Mali and Rwanda by virtue of a better points difference with all three sides finishing on four points.
There is a general feeling however that their performance would have been better had the team’s front court put in a better shift particularly in the 79-76 loss to Mali.
The Mohamed Santur-led national team committee consequently made five changes to the roster ahead of the return leg starting June 29-01 July in Nigeria.
Ivan Lumanyika and Samuel Kalwanyi return to the team while there will be a debut for John Deng Geu who turns out for US College Basketball side North Dakota St Bison.
Power forward Ivan Lumanyika bounces back after a bright start at JKL Dolphins in the National Basketball League where he is averaging 17 points and a league high 11 rebounds.
The other new player on the team is Emmanuel Mugenga who was born to a Ugandan mother while Zone V MVP Jordin Mayes returns after missing the first leg.
Veteran Stanley Ocitti is among those missing on the roster as well as center Brandon Sebirumbi who averaged four points and less than four rebounds in the first leg.
One win is expected to be enough ahead of the second leg with the top three nations qualifying to the second round. The top three teams from each of the four groups after the return leg will then be divided into two groups of six teams each.