10 January 2014

UGANDA : Juruni hopes to try out more options in Mapinduzi Cup

It all started last July when the national basketball team, TeamUg, faced a Select side of foreign players in the Airtel National Basketball League. 
National coach Mandy Juruni’s side got a 69-54 victory. However, the final score wasn’t the primary concern – it mattered little.
The performance and chemistry meant everything as preparations for this year’s Fiba Africa Zone V Nations Championships started in earnest. Almost six months later, Juruni now takes another step forward, this time on the island of Zanzibar and not the darkness of YMCA court that day.
TeamUg is one four teams taking part in the annual Mapinduzi Cup to mark Zanzibar’s 50th Independence. It may not be the biggest tournament but to Juruni and his team, it’s means a lot.
Their first game is against Tanzania, a side TeamUg is widely expected to beat. “It’s another chance to try out all our options,” Juruni reasoned. Stephen Omony, Ronnie Kasewu, Ben Komakech and Norman Blick missed the build-up game in July. Syrus Kiviri was among those who got a chance to impress back then. He didn’t grab the chance with two hands. The UCU Canons’ guard gets his second opportunity to force his way into the team having missed last year’s Zone V event through injury when selection looked certain.
Omony, Komakech and Blick are back in the fold but Kasewu isn’t having skipped training over the festive season. There is a total upgrade from last year’s team too as UK-based John Johnson and Kassim Nagwere from Sweden, both Ugandan-born guards, joined the side over the past 10 days. Ivan Rumanyika (UCU Canons) opted out, his place going to Brian Ssentogo.
Playing today
Tanzania vs. Uganda (3pm) 
Zanzibar vs. Kenya 
Kenya vs. Uganda (4pm) 
Zanzibar vs. Uganda (4pm)

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