By Ariel Okall

Editor: Brenda Mwaniki

With the just concluded first window of the AfroBasket Qualifiers, we are breaking down how things look for East African teams. All our teams performances were above average with Uganda and South Sudan getting huge wins. The host of the Afrobasket 2021 had a rough start losing all three of their games in pool D. The Rwandese opened up their campaign against Mali, a tough match that went down to the wire with Mali holding on to a 70-64 win over resilient Rwanda. The second and third game were against giants Nigeria and late entry South Sudan who surprised the host with 2 consecutive losses, 83-62 and 67-55 respectively. The three loses saw to the resignation of their head coach. With Rwanda losing all their first three games, what next? Well, to qualify all they need to do is win their remaining games by a bigger margin. If that will be impossible and they finish fourth in pool D, a wildcard will be available for them. Either way, they will be playing in the Afrobasket 2021. Their biggest headache now is getting a coach and re-evaluating their strategy heading into the second qualifying round.

Kenneth Gasana of Rwanda. Photo courtesy FIBA

The Kenya Morans opened their campaign of qualifying for the Afrobasket 2021 in January 2019. The Morans won all 5 games in the pre qualifiers. They first window of the second round Kenya faced African giants Senegal, Angola and Afrobasket regulars, Mozambique. Kenya won one out of three games, this puts the Morans in a much better position to qualify. The Morans need one win Against Mozambique and hope that Senegal and Angola does the same and beat Mozambique. Any other win for Kenya will be a bonus and will secure a ticket for the Kenya Morans in the Afrobasket after 27 years of being in the cold.

Uganda Silverbacks. Photo courtesy FIBA

Uganda Silverbacks went to Alexandria, Egypt, and balled out. They opened their first game against hosts Egypt. They later faced Morocco, and Cape Verde, respectively. With a win record of 2 out of 3, Uganda has a foot in the Afrobasket and will only need to win a game to get their ticket. The Silverbacks are second in group E behind Egypt.
The late entries South Sudan who received a wildcard late before the games started, started off against Nigeria losing 76-56. However they bounced back and dominated Mali and Rwanda. South Sudan are in a fantastic position as it stands. Like their counterparts, Uganda, South Sudan have one foot in the Afrobasket 2021 and will require a win to secure a ticket. Luol Deng has definitely brought in new energy to Juba and South Sudan as a whole. The country has massive talent scattered around the world and if they regroup, South Sudan will dominate Africa.

South Sudan celebrating a win in Kigali. Photo courtesy FIBA

Well as predicted by Th3Doctor’s Report, the East is Rising and with all the four teams having a huge chance of qualifying, basketball in the region will definitely grow. February is around the corner, and we are ready for another bubble experience and another showcase of good basketball. Good luck to the Morans, The Silverbacks, South Sudan and Rwanda. The East is Rising.

All Photos are courtesy of FIBA

By Ariel Okall


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