There were hardly any surprise omissions as Team Uganda took the first major step in finding the right blend for the final 12-man squad for the Fiba Zone V Nations Championship in Kigali, Rwanda early next month.
Isaac Luggude (DMark Power), Mark Opio (Charging Rhino) and Caeser Kizito (Miracle Eagles) were excluded as the men’s team was trimmed to 14 players following a two-and-half-hour workout on Monday night at UCU, Mukono.
Coach Gad Eteu and his assistant Timothy Odeke still have a job to do with the final squad set to be named tonight. “I think we have a very good idea of what we want the team to do and players understand our philosophy,” Eteu said. Unlike the initial summons when he threw tantrums for being ignored before he was included as a reserve, Luggude took this latest axe within his stride.
Eagles’ teammates Brian Ssentongo and Edwin Kateregga will fight for one of the final two slots whereas UCU Canons guard Ivan Enabu and Power small forward Boniface Okello are also in shootout for the other place which could also drag Isaac Afidra in. The latter, voted basketball player of the year by sports scribes, is yet to regain his shooting prowess having struggled with a calf injury over the last year.
Though, Eteu couldn’t admit that the rest of the places are decided now, he gave bold hints. “Jimmy and (his younger brother) Emmanuel Enabu have worked hard in training so far. Their link up play with Stephen (Omony) has also been good for the team.” If both the younger Enabus are selected, then Ivan, the eldest of the three and Most Valuable Player (MVP) when Uganda hosted and won the event in 2005, is likely to miss out.
B. Komakech, I. Enabu, E. Enabu, J. Enabu, N. Blick, J. Ikong, I. Afidra, S. Omony, P. Wakimwero, B. Okello, E. Malinga, E. Kateregga, B. Ssentogo,
R. Mubiru Dropped: I. Luggude, M. Opio, C. Kizito