26 February 2009

UGANDA : Rwanda too strong for Uganda

by Sande Bashaija

Rwanda 95 Uganda 68
Egypt 101 Kenya 39
Rwanda 95 Uganda 70
Burundi 52 Kenya 68
Burundi v Egypt
Kenya v Uganda
Kenya v Uganda
Rwanda v Burundi

Uganda’s chances of qualifying for the Africa Championship due August in Libya now hang by the thread after the men’s team lost their opening game of the Zone 5 qualifiers 68-93 to hosts Rwanda on Tuesday night.

The team suffered an off-court setback when the influential Henry Malinga and Francis Tumusime were blocked from playing due to lack of valid birth certificates as per the regulations.

“I believe if Henry played, the result would have been different. He is a very smart and intelligent player,” Timothy Odeke, the team’s assistant coach, said.

Without Malinga, the 2007 league most valuable player, Uganda relied on youngster Brian Ssentongo to control the post play.

Ssentongo managed eight points but couldn’t contain the marauding Rwandans who had Robert Thompson, Rutayisire Amandin and Ntumba Buzanga in double figures with 20, 19 and 13 points respectively.
Skipper Norman Blick was the highest scorer for Uganda with 21 points, Boniface Okello garnered 10 while professional Stephen Omony managed nine.
The team returns to action against Kenya this evening hoping to record their first win of the round robin tournament.
Kenya were humiliated 39-101 by favourites Egypt on Tuesday and Uganda’s head coach Tom Ocamringa believes his charges can add to their misery.
“We are equally matched with Kenya,” Ocamringa said. Adding; “We are sorting out the birth certificates issue and hopefully Malinga and Tumusime can be allowed to play.”

Only the top two teams will qualify for the Africa Championship. Egypt and Rwanda look favourites to take the two slots

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