TWO-time coach of the Uganda’s Silver Bucks, Mandy Juruni says he has nothing to worry about as his side slugs it out with Nigeria in the opening game of the second window of the FIBA World Cup 2019 Qualifiers holding here at the Salamatou Maiga Stadium in the heart of Mali’s capital, Bamako.
Speaking at the end of one of his practice sessions, Juruni, who is also coach of the City Oilers back in Kampala said though Uganda is excited to be playing in the World Cup qualifiers for the China 2019 ticket, he is not bothered by the opposition that Nigeria, Rwanda and host Mali would bring.
Asked if Nigeria’s record as 2015 AfroBasket Champions and runners up in AfroBasket 2017 scares him, Juruni said: “If we’re scared, we won’t be here in Bamako. Being scared of one’s opponent means you can’t give your best but as it stands, we’re here to give our best be it Nigeria or any other country.
“We’re here to compete and it’s a big opportunity for me and my players. Uganda has met Nigeria before
and as such knows what to expect. The players know what is at stake and are ready to give their best, the level
of opposition notwithstanding. Having been to two AfroBasket finals in Tunisia and in Senegal 2017, we’ve gained some experience in African basketball. We’ll
face Nigeria squarely knowing that qualification for the next round is important.”
However, Nigeria’s Coach, Alex Nwora who is parading a mix of the AfroBasket 2015 title winning squad with play- ers from the AfroBasket 2017 that finished second place as well as a few new intakes says he is taking each game as it comes.
“All games here in Bamako are important to us and we’ll focus on each game as the need arises. All teams here have equal chances but it depends on who is hungrier for the ticket to do so by winning all the way. The team
is ready and rearing to go. I don’t have any doubt in my mind that we’ll be business-like and do the needful.”