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FIBA World Cup Qualifiers: Uganda Shifts Attention to Mali, Rwanda

Saturday, June 30
Uganda Vs Mali, 8 PM

Sunday, July 1
Rwanda Vs Uganda, 8 PM

Following Friday’s loss to Nigeria, Uganda coach George Galanopolous has rallied his team to turn focus to the remaining two games in group B.

Uganda lost 109-66 to Nigeria’s D’Tigres in their first game of the second window for the ongoing second window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers for group B in Lagos.

The victory sent Nigeria (4-0) through to the second round irrespective of the remaining games in the group.

It should be noted that in this first round, the top three teams from each group only qualify to the next stage – At this stage, there are now two slots left, with a three-team race of Nigeria, Mali and Rwanda.

Uganda is joint bottom with Saturday’s opponents Mali, but the Silverbacks have an inferior points difference of -46, Mali sit above with -34.

Speaking after Nigeria’s loss, Galanopolous noted his side lost the game on turn-overs and allowing Nigeria to easily get into the paint

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“There are some things we can improve especially defensively or offensively.

“We allowed them to get easy baskets in transition, and we turned the ball over, too much. We had 9 assists and 22 overs so we actually want the opposite of that.”

Ahead of the Mali game, he added that the team needs to play to their strength, show athleticism and be more aggressive as they front the post, and deny the opponents the post.

He also revealed that he is not concerned on the size of his players in the inside, adding that the boys just have to play a ‘little faster, quicker and Scrappier’.

“We have to just learn from this loss but at the same time forget about it because we can’t take what happened today (Friday) into tomorrow (Saturday), we are going to watch the film and learn from it.

When tasked t pick the positives from the loss, he pointed the spirit of togetherness in the team, both on the bench and on the court, despite the loss being ‘deflating’.

Can Uganda stop Mali?

Mali’s next two opponents are Uganda and Nigeria, but the latter is a difficult task for Remi Julien Guitta’s team.

Mali surely sees Uganda as the team they can beat in this group, a thing they achieved in the first round.

In Bamako, Mali defeated Uganda 79-76 as the Silverbacks gave away a 26-28 lead at halftime.

In the game, Mamadou Keita scored 22 points, Mahamadou Kante and Ibrahim Djambo added 15 and 10 points respectively in Bamako.

The above trio were also in scintillating form against Rwanda on Friday, reaching double point figures despite the loss. And if they come stronger against Uganda, it will be another huge mountain to climb for the Silverbacks.

Still in Bamako, Stanley Ocitti who scored 16 points for Uganda against Mali is not part of the this time round, however, the coach remains positive.

“We just have to move on, We have the onfidence, no matter the scoreline, no matter the opponents.

“Regardless of what happened to us when we last played Mali, this is a new team, we have new players and ready to win.”

In the same group, Nigeria will look to go 5-0 when they take on Rwanda in the last game of the night.

Saturday games in summary:
DR Congo Vs Morocco
Guinea Vs Cameroon
Mozambique Vs Central Africa
Uganda Vs Mali
Angola Vs Egypt
Senegal Vs Ivory coast
Rwanda Vs Nigeria
Chad Vs Tunisia

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