Juruni issues inspiring message in opening of Uganda's training camp for World Cup African Qualifiers
KAMPALA (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers) - As 13 players reported to Uganda's first day of training camp for their FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers on Monday, head coach Mandy Juruni insisted they will not be going to Bamako next month to make up numbers.
From February 23-25, Uganda will go up against Nigeria, Rwanda, and Mali in the first-leg of Group B of the World Cup African Qualifiers in the Malian capital Bamako.
"OUR GOAL IS TO QUALIFY FOR THE NEXT LEVEL OF THE COMPETITION" - Juruni
In order to advance to the 12-team second round, the Eastern Africans need to finish in the first three places of the group.
And, that was the focal point of Juruni's message to Uganda's 13-man preliminary squad.
|Uganda's 13-player preliminary squad for FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers|
|Tony Drileba||Jonathan Egau||Jimmy Enabu||Joseph Ikong|
|Derrick Isiko||Syrus Kiviiri||Stanley Muguerwa||Samuel Mukooza|
|James Okello||Henry Okoth||Stephen Omony||Mark Opio|
"Our goal is to qualify for the next level of competition," Juruni explained to FIBA.basketball.
And the 35-year-old play-caller made sure to start the country's World Cup African Qualifiers preparations with a group of players that included half of the team that featured at last year's FIBA AfroBasket, namely Jimmy Enabu, Joseph Ikong, Stephen Omony, Jonathan Egau and James Okello.
Foreign-based players are expected to join the team at a later stage of the preparations.
Juruni insisted the Qualifiers should serve as a way to continue building on Uganda's progress registered over the past few years.
"We have gained experience playing at the level," he noted, adding that "my message to the players was simple: we are competing well against teams in Africa and we shouldn't only settle on competing but do better than that and start winning games."
At stake in the African Qualifiers are five tickets on offer for the continent's countries to reach the first-ever 32-team FIBA Basketball World Cup taking place in China from August 30-September 15, 2019.