ABIDJAN (FIBA AfroBasket 2017) - In the lead-up to the FIBA AfroBasket 2017, we take a closer look at all 16 participating teams competing in the championship running from September 8-16 in the co-host countries of Senegal and Tunisia.
NIKE FIBA World Ranking: 89th
Last participation at FIBA AfroBasket: 2015 (1 win, 4 losses, 15th)
Best results in the history of FIBA AfroBasket: 15th
History/Qualification: Uganda have never reached the podium at FIBA AfroBasket.
Key player: Stanley Ocitti
The 37-year-old power forward Stanley Ocitti is arguably the 'Silverbacks' main player. And despite his age, he remains as hungry to help his country write a new chapter in African basketball history. More importantly, Ocitti can score, play both on the offensive and defensive side of the court, and is undoubtedly the leader of the team.
Rising star: Samuel Kalwanyi
In his first FIBA AfroBasket two years ago, Kalwanyi contributed 13 points in 64 minutes, but he might see his playing time increase in Dakar, where Uganda will battle in Group B against Angola, Morocco and the Central African Republic.
Outlook: Far from being a continental powerhouse, the Ugandans have never hidden their intentions of making history at this year's FIBA AfroBasket. They are determined to use the experience they gained in Tunisia in 2015 to have a go in Dakar.
"The experience in Tunisia was very valuable to us as players and the team. Everyone has a different perspective and expectation this time compared to our maiden appearance,'' Stephen Omony has recently told FIBA.basketball while taking note of the draw.
That experience might come in handy when they face continental powerhouse Angola, Omony admitted.
''Angola have been dominating basketball in Africa and despite losing the last FIBA AfroBasket Final, they are still to be considered as a force."
This time, the technical staff has brought together a blend of home-grown players and some expats. This is what may trigger good results for the Silverbacks. "The locally based players are talented and the blend with the expats might give us an extra edge and confidence," Omony said.
Possible outcome: Their 15th place finish two years ago can be attributed to a lack of experience. This time, however, the East African giants are aiming higher although they are likely to face fierce competition from Group B opponents.