10 February 2015

UGANDA : Skipper Omony wants Uganda to leave mark at AfroBasket

Omony wants the AfroBasket tournament
Omony wants the AfroBasket tournament to open doors for Ugandan basketballers. PHOTO BY ISMAIL KEZAALA 
By Andrew Mwanguhya

The number of times Uganda have participated at the Fiba AfroBasket - the men’s basketball continental biennial championship - reads naught.
But when this year’s edition tips off in Tunisia AugustSeptember, figure 1 will be entered as the Silverbacks, as the Ugandan national team are called, debut at the championships.
It is one moment Silverbacks captain, Stephen Omony - who learnt his game from St Leo’s College, Kyegobe in Fort Portal before taking it to another level while juggling his A’ Levels at Kitante High with Blue Jackets basketball club duty in 1997 - has been waiting for.
“It has been one of my dreams,” said the 6’4 feet guard, “First of all it is an honour to represent my country, and to captain it - it is a privilege. We can’t take this lightly as a team. We are carrying hopes of the entire nation; so for me it is a challenge.”
Omony added: “Can we win it (AfroBasket)? Well, I don’t get into something to lose. I would like to go there and win. We shall try to do that.”
Yet Omony, in his mid 30s, is not lost on reality.
“But also, we have to be realistic and manage our expectations. It’s our first time at Afcon (he loves to call it that) and the journey has not been easy.
“We missed out on two occasions but I felt on those two we should have qualified… But now that we have made it, we have to go for it.
“But if we are to lose, I want us to lose honourably. Even in defeat, Uganda’s impact must be felt. We want to leave people there saying, ‘There is Uganda!’
“This is something we’ve been looking for. I want this to be our gateway. This is a chance for Ugandan players to get that much needed exposure and this is the stage where international scouts are looking out for talent.”
This year’s event is the 28th edition, and is also a qualifying competition for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The women’s national team, the Gazelles, will also represent at the ladies’ 24th edition in Cameroon - in addition to the All Africa Games.
Stephen Omony
Fact file
2012 to date: Falcons
2010-2012: Miracle
2009-2010: Falcons
2008: Nizwa (Middle East). Six-month stint
2002-2008: Hawks (Seychelles)
2001: Nkumba Marines
1998-1999: Falcons/Kitante Hill
1997: Blue Jackets/Kitante Hill
Falcons: League titles in 1998, 1999
Hawks (Seychelles): 4 league titles

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