25 January 2013

Uganda: Women Still Going Strong in Dar

Uganda against Burundi was nothing more than a classification game but thanks to the match commissioner, it provoked a hailstorm that suggested both teams were still fighting for progress in the men's 2013 FIBA Africa Zone Five Afrobasket championship.

Steven Omony scored two of his team-high 22 points with 10 microseconds left in the fourth quarter to send the match to overtime before a string of turnovers on the Uganda side sealed an 89-86 win for Burundi.

Norman Blick, Ben Komakech and Henry Malinga added 14, 13 and 10 points respectively for Uganda, who trailed from wire to wire and were 40-28 down at halftime. Burundi were up 76-74 when Omony was fouled with the game on its last breath. The seasoned assassin that he is, Omony calmly sunk both to tie the match and send the contest to overtime.

Or so everyone thought. The Kenyan match commissioner Henry Shemi, under some strange inspiration, insisted that Omony's last free throws only made the score 76-74 in favour of Burundi, exactly where it was before he took them.

Naturally, Uganda threw storm, led by FUBA president Ambrose Tashobya, who had just flown into Tanzania. Shemi's explanation was too shameful to warrant relaying in these pages but fortunately, he abandoned it in time for the Burundians to be recalled into the arena.

Unfortunately for Uganda, they made three sloppy turnovers at the start of overtime to give Burundi an eight-point lead that they would not surrender. For Uganda coach Mandy Juruni, there was little doubt where the game was lost.

"We made a lot of immature turnovers today," said Juruni. "Yes, the players are tired but those turnovers are not acceptable at this level."

The Burundi defeat means Uganda are likely to finish sixth out of the seven men's teams that have taken part. Their final classification game is Saturday against Tanzania, whom they earlier defeated 80-66.

By press time, the Ugandan women had just coasted to a 63-41 victory over Tanzania. Today, they have a much tougher test against Kenya.


Burundi 89 Uganda 86


Uganda 63 Tanzania 41


Uganda v Kenya (Women)

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