ALEXANDRIA (FIBA Africa Champions Cup 2017) – Ugandan outfit City Oilers will be gunning for the title when they come up against the best sides on the continent at the upcoming FIBA Africa Champions Cup 2017 scheduled for December 11-20 in Tunisia.
Mande Juruni’s side, who only made their continental debut last year, believe they have what it takes to challenge for the crown.
“Our expectation is to win the tournament. You do not have to play 20 times to win something. It is about preparation, hard work, belief and having a good team to compete.” – Juruni
The back-to-back FIBA Africa Zone 5 champions who have also won the national league title for four straight years feel they are ready for a new challenge.
For their preparations ahead of the 12-team showdown, the City Oilers are camping in the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria where a fortnight’s camp is expected to be the bridge between their ambitions and achievements ultimately.
Speaking exclusively to FIBA.basketball, Juruni said, “We are ready to go. We have been training hard and have played tough friendly games against top teams in Egypt so we are good.”
“Our expectation is to win the tournament. You do not have to play 20 times to win something. It is about preparation, hard work, belief and having a good team to compete.”
Last year, the City Oilers lost all their four games in Group B and managed to register an 88-69 win over Cameroonian side Nzui Manto to finish ninth on the table standings.
Two of their losses came to eventual finalists Recreativo de Libolo from Angola 98-44 and AS Sale from Morocco 83-72 who claimed a Third-Place finish at the tournament.
However, Juruni is not worried about last year’s outing but rather insists that amassing experience from the Cairo showpiece is very important in their quest for glory in this edition.
“The experience from the 2016 edition means that we go into this tournament with better confidence and knowledge of what the competition is like. We are ready,” he emphasized.
Following their second straight qualification to the FIBA Africa Champions Cup and Uganda’s qualification to two consecutive FIBA AfroBasket tournaments, Juruni who is also the assistant coach of the Uganda national team revealed that the City Oilers will benefit from this wave.
“It means that we are doing a good job developing the game and representing Uganda and our region. We are now known in Africa that Uganda is doing a good job. That is great for us. We are seen as the top teams in Africa,” Juruni pointed out.
City Oilers will lineup with seven players that featured for Uganda at the FIBA AfroBasket 2017 including the reliable pair of forwards Stanley Ocitti and Adarius Pegues as well as experienced shooting guards Stephen Omony, Ben Komakech and Jimmy Enabu.
Youngsters Jonah Otim and James Okello complete the list but Burundian forward Landry Ndikumana and American-born Jordan Mayes are expected to light up the City Oilers roster as they did at the FIBA Africa Champions Cup 2017 Zone 5 Qualifiers in Kampala in October.