KAMPALA (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers) - For many national teams in Africa, the concept of playing regular official games has, up to now, been limited to competing in biennial tournaments to qualify for FIBA AfroBasket.
This is about to change as FIBA's Competition System 2017+ will usher in a new era starting in November, with regular official games being played in a home and away format across six windows to qualify teams for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 and FIBA Continental Cups 2021.
This gets the full backing of Uganda captain Stephen Omony.
"The new system is good for the game because continuous basketball activity will give teams exposure to high-level competition and improve the technical abilities of teams that have not played repeatedly at a high level," he told FIBA.com.
Exposure at FIBA AfroBasket 2015 paid off for the Silverbacks as they got much-needed experience that helped them qualify for this summer's event to be played in Congo-Brazzaville from August 19-30.
The 37-year-old is excited about the home support that will grow once games are promoted through media campaigns and sees more involvement on the part of the government as something to expect.
"It will implore the government to answer the call and improve their participation in the game by engaging in the promotion of the game through the stakeholders," he said. "The Ugandan Basketball Federation (FUBA) will have to appeal to the government or any potential partners to put up better facilities to accommodate the growing number of fans."
FIBA's New Competition System, Omony points out, is set up in such a way as to have more inclusion for all teams across the continent.
"It will ensure uniform growth of the game at all levels because teams that do not qualify in the top 16 (for FIBA AfroBasket) and the FIBA Basketball World Cup still get a chance to play in the AfroCan," he said.
This summer, Uganda will compete in the FIBA AfroBasket for the second consecutive time and thereafter take part in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers for a chance to qualify to China 2019.