On Thursday, Uganda national basketball team – Silverbacks – left the country for a two-week training camp in Egypt before heading to Senegal for the 2017 Afrobasket.
On the team were novices Stanley Mugerwa of Pemba Warriors and UCU Canons’ Jonathan Egau.
Syrus Kiviiri returned to the team after nearly four years since making the first appearance in the 2013 Zone V qualifiers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
While City Oilers’ James Okello and Jonah Otim made the team joining season campaigners Joseph Ikong, Jimmy Enabu, Ben Komakech and captain Stephen Omony, the summoning of Mugerwa and Egau came as a surprise to many.
And head coach Mandy Juruni explained the inclusion of Mugerwa, Egau and Kiiviri on the team.
“We summoned all players based on how they are currently playing, especially the form the form they had and the stats,” Juruni told the media before the team was flaged off.
“If you look at how Syrus (Kiviiri) is playing, he is one of the top payers in the league at the moment. So I think he deserved to be given a chance.
“He is also a fighter and a good defensive player and he is going to do everything it takes to make him a better player,”
On Jonathan Egau, Juruni said: “He is a kind of player who is going to work so hard on the court, he is playing so well for his club.
“He is a young boy who has got very good height but again if we want to have continuity of the team, we have to bring in these young boys to get that experience and play at that level.”
On Stanley Mugerwa, the soft spoken coach said: “It’s the same thing (as Egau) with Mugerwa. As a country we short of forwards, big men… So we think him getting on to the team at this age is going to push him so he can play for the country for so many years to come.
“It might be a learning experience for him because it’s his first call up on he national team but we think he is going to become one of the top-top players for years to come.”