The under-23 Gazelles, Uganda’s women basketball team face Romania in their opening Fiba 3 on 3 basketball world championships tomorrow, in the Chinese city of Xian. It is the inaugural Fiba under-23 World Cup tournament.
However, the under-23 Gazelles (Jamilah Nansikombi, 21, Ritah Imanishimwe, 22, Hope Akello, 20 and Jane Asinde, 19), who were flagged off on Monday from the National Council of Sports, do not feel they will be daunted by the expectation. Instead, they hope to make their mark at the global event, because of their recent international experiences.
Basketball coach, Hamza Nyambogo, the team’s coordinator said while addressing the media, that the team has undergone substantial preparation.
But on top of that, this under-23 team comprises of two players from the senior women’s team, Imanishimwe and Nansikombi, that competed in the world championships in June in the Philippines, and also the Africa Championships in August, Madagascar, they boast of enormous experience.
In the Philippines, Uganda finished number 13 out of 20, while in Madagascar, they won bronze: “There is no doubt that we keep improving with every tournament we play in. So, we should be able to do better in Xian, than we did in Manila,” said Imanishimwe.
Furthermore, Uganda’s qualification for this tournament was based on the country’s number one ranking in Africa in 3 on 3 basketball. The tournament in China begins today through to October 7.