KAMPALA (AfroBasket 2015) - Neither Brandon Sebirumbi nor Marial Dhal have played for Uganda recently, but by the time the Eastern African country make their AfroBasket debut in two weeks time in Tunisia, the duo will be expected to make an impact.
The team’s head coach Mandy Juruni announced his final squad for the 2015 AfroBasket on Tuesday, bringing in four new faces.
Although Lumanyika had a crucial role throughout the qualifiers, Juruni had other plans in mind.
Among the newcomers, Juruni also called up Stanley Ociti and Ikong Joseph.
American-Ugandan Sebirumbi is a power forward who last played for Caceres Ciudade del Baloncesto in the Spain’s LEB Oro league.
To battle near the basket, Juruni invited Dhal, a 2.22m center who played USA college at Canisius College, and currently plays for local club Our Saviour.
In the next few days, Ugandans will see what the new additions bring to the team when they take on Rwanda and Kenya in the capital Kampala before traveling for Tunisia where the tournament runs from 19 to 30 August.
In Tunisia, Ugandan will face the host country, Nigeria and the Central African Republic in Group A.
“Right now we are studying those two teams (Nigeria and Tunisia),” Juruni said to FIBA.com.
“We still don’t know much about the Central African Republic team.
“They all have good players, but I am sure we’ll be ready for the fight.”
Asked to describe his team’s competitiveness, Juruni said: “We have players coming from different parts of the world, and we are building our team chemistry and identity. It takes time, but we’ll get there.
We are 70 to 80 percent ready for the AfroBasket - Juruni
The decision to sit out Blick and Lumanyika raised questions in the country, but Juruni made sure to justify his selections.
Talking to New Vision, the tactician said: “I have been telling the players from last year that the AfroBasket team would be chosen on current form.
“I told the players the door is open and anyone can make the team. Those who have been performing at a high level in training have been selected.”
Uganda’s final roster for AfroBasket 2015: John Balwigaire, Marial Dhal, Jimmy Enabu, Henry Malinga, Josh Johnson, Ikong Joseph, Samuel Mukooza, Kassim Nagwere, Stanley Ocitti, Stephen Omony, Kalwanyi Samuel and Brandon Sebirumbi.