08 April 2015

UGANDA : Uganda get American coach for AfroBasket

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Johnson, accompanied by national team star Jimmy Enabu (R), talks to youngsters at the Xcel Basketball Camp in Ntinda last year. Photo by Ismail Kezaala 
By Andrew Mwanguhya

Posted  Wednesday, April 8  2015 at  01:00
KAMPALA. American basketball coach Paul Johnson returns to the country for the second time in two years to take charge of Uganda’s 2015 AfroBasket campaign.
Having been here in January 2013 and helped Silverbacks head coach Mandy Juruni prepare the team for the aforementioned year’s Zone V Championships in Dar es Salaam, Johnson returns in two months time to help on the crunch stage. The American, Fuba president Ambrose Tashobya told Daily Monitor yesterday, will be head coach for both the Silverbacks and Gazelles - the women’s national team - at this year’s AfroBasket in Tunisia and Cameroon respectively.
“Paul Johnson will come in the last week of June but will start work with coaches Mandy Juruni, Gad Eteu and the boys on July 1,” said Tashobya.
Johnson was first here as part of Fuba’s partnership with Athletes In Action (AIA) Canada. The Canadian organisation runs sports development programmes accross the world.
Uganda were drawn in Group A alongside hosts and 2011 winners Tunisia, three-time losing finalists Nigeria and a yet-to-be known wildcard. The event, which is also a qualifying avenue for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, takes place August 19-30 in the Tunisian cities of Nabeul and Tunis. Tashobya dismissed suggestions that the return of Johnson spells doom for Juruni and Eteu, who helped Uganda qualify for the event.
“He is not coming here to take over,” Tashobya said, “Mandy and Gad remain as men’s national team coaches.” Timothy Odeke, Nimrod Kaboha and Ali Mavita are Gazelles coaches.
“We don’t want a vacuum after he has gone back home. For this, Johnson will add that maturity and improve our decision making. His experience and a whole mature outlook will help us on the big stage in Tunisia and Cameroon with the girls (September).”
Eteu, assistant to Juruni, agrees with Tashobya. “Paul Johnson adds to what we already have,” he said, “He brings in another view that makes us more dynamic and solid.
“The good thing with him is that he is respectful to everyone and is very passionate about the assignment. We love him for that and the players love him for that.”
Johnson will not sign a contract, according to Fuba boss, Ambrose Tashobya. “Mainly it’s down to our partnership with him and Athletes In Action. He has a company that scouts for North American Colleges and is a rich man. We don’t have the money to attract him into employment.
“When I talked to him about helping us, the timing between July and end of September was favourable for him. So we shall take care of his accommodation, return ticket and a monthly token of appreciation.”

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