07 February 2011

UGANDA : Malinga to travel despite mum’s death

Nothing is going to stop Kyambogo Warriors forward Eric Malinga from playing for Uganda at the Fiba Africa Zone V Nations Championship.

Eric and his elder brother Henry Malinga, a three-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) award winner, lost their mother on Friday night. While everyone thought the former, once voted utl/Uspa basketball player of the year, would skip the event that starts today in Kigali, Rwanda to mourn, Eric opted to stick with the team. “For obvious reasons involving the burial in Mbale on Sunday (yesterday), Eric couldn’t travel with the team but will join them on Monday,” said Fuba president Ambrose Tashobya.

Arguably the best shooter from the field in Uganda, Eric was due to embark on at least a 14-hour journey from Mbale to Kigali. “Such a player is very good for the team since his focus and pride to play for his country can translate into lifting his teammates,” men’s coach Gad Eteu said in praise of Eric.

Nonetheless, it was not all going according to plan yesterday with organisers not issuing a draw for the biennial event by 8p.m Ugandan time. This did little to dampen the mood in Team Uganda’s camp. Following a gruesome a nine-hour overnight bus journey, the contingent were buoyant as they settled in at the La Pallise Hotel on the outskirts of the capital Kigali.

The late breakfast that took at least two hours to get served was the only glitch but when it came, it brought more smiles. The two national teams had a light workout.

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