UGANDA : Brave Uganda beaten
By Ismail D. Kigongo
Rwanda 89-76 Uganda
Kenya 61-56 Tanzania
Kenya 69-31 Burundi
Uganda 32-68 Kenya
Men: Kenya v Burundi
Uganda v Rwanda (5:30pm)
Burundi v Tanzania (5pm)
Ethiopia v Kenya (3pm)
For a moment, Rwandans forgot which team to celebrate with when the final whistle went following their team’s 89-76 victory over Uganda at the Fiba Africa Zone V Nations Championship.
Some made their way from the stands to the floor of the buzzing Amahoro Stadium gymnasium and wanted to give congratulatory hangs to the Ugandan team.
Those who succeeded in making it to floor were quick to point out that Uganda’s No. 4 – Norman Blick – lit up their Wednesday night.
The utility player’s game-high 30 points and seven rebounds epitomised the fighting spirit of a team that appeared lifeless in losses to Kenya and Burundi.
Something that greatly lacked then was evident as Rwanda were restricted to under 90 points for the first time in the tournament.
“There is got to be realism in what we expect from the team. Players need exposure and more time to play together,” men’s coach Gad Eteu told Daily Monitor.
Blick had able company in Ben Komakech (16) and captain Stephen Omony (11).
The first quarter was evenly contested 19-19. The hosts took charge from then on to take the subsequent two periods 23-13 and 22-17 respectively. Uganda nicked the ultimate period 27-25 but could not pull off a surprise victory.
Uganda played with desire to reduce the damage of American-Rwandan Mathew Miller (23), Congolese-born Kami Kabange (20) and former Australian Robert Thompson (18).
The expensively assembled Rwandese team made 21 of their 29 free throw attempts as opposed to Uganda managing only three of 10 which proved the difference. The Ugandan female players cheered on to wash away the pain of losing 32-68 to Kenya in the earlier game.