24 August, 2021
05 September
5 Jimmy Enabu (UGA), 13 Ishmail Wainright (UGA)
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Uganda shock title contender Nigeria, South Sudan through to Quarter-Finals

KIGALI (Rwanda) - Uganda ended Nigeria's FIBA AfroBasket 2021 campaign with a shocking 80-62 victory on Tuesday in Kigali.

On August 30, 2015, Nigeria lifted their first-ever AfroBasket title in Rades, Tunisia. In that same tournament D'Tigers had destroyed then debutant Uganda 98-59.

Fast forward to August 31, 2021, and it was a completely different ball game with the 'Silverbacks', equipped with a highly-talented squad, dominating the former African champions from start to finish.

Ishmail Wainright 

At some point in the game, Uganda led Nigeria by as many as 21 points. That's right TWENTY ONE POINTS.

How was Uganda's triumph possible? The Ugandans stepped on the court visibly more motivated, more determined, fought for every ball possession because they knew that with a squad of their caliber they had the means to upset a Nigerian team that had been struggling from Day 1.

Ishmail Wainright led Uganda by example, setting the tone with his eleven points, eleven rebounds and six assists; Robinson Opong came off the bench to score 18 of his team-high 19 points from behind the arc, and  Deng John Geu, Arthur Kaluma and  Adam Seiko combined for 31 points to help Uganda stay in contention.

Uzodinma Utomi led Nigeria in scoring with 23 points,  Ikenna Ndugba, Jeremiah Mordi, Stephen George Domingo combined for 35 points.

"The key to game was our defense. Holding them under 36 percent from the field; we forced 19 turnovers. I think what is going to be more impactful in the future is the influence that these players will have on the new generation," Uganda head coach George Galanopoulos said.

With the win, Uganda advanced to the AfroBasket Quarter-Finals for the time in their basketball history while Nigeria fell short of the Last Eight for the first time since 1980 when they finished eleventh in Rabat, Morocco.

In the second Qualification Round to the Quarter-Finals, South Sudan defeated Kenya 60-58 in what was, as expected a highly-contested game between neighbouring countries.

Even though South Sudan led Kenya by twenty points at some point, Team Morans never gave up, and almost took the lead later in the game.

However, Kenya's recurrent struggles to handle the ball proved costly to them after turning the ball over 20 times. Kenya averaged 21.7 turnovers in four games. 

"Everybody was hyped up, everybody was ready but they came out and gave the first punch. Give them credit; they did their job. As our coach said, this was the difference of the game," Kenya Tom Bush Wamukota admitted in the post-game press conference.

In their first-ever AfroBasket appearance, South Sudan advance to the Quarter-Finals where they will take on reigning African champions on Thursday.