Uganda’s youth basketball dominance shines in 2024 FIBA U18 African Championships qualifiers


In the heart of Kampala, at the buzzing Lugogo Indoor Arena, Uganda’s youthful basketball talent illuminated the court during the 2024 FIBA U18 African Championships Qualifiers for Zone 5 countries.

It was a week of intense competition, where the Junior Silverbacks and Junior Gazelles showcased their prowess against regional rivals, leaving an indelible mark on the road to the biennial FIBA festival.

The tournament commenced with an electrifying clash between Kenya and Tanzania in the girls’ division. Tanzania’s Upendo Isaya opened the scoring with a confident three-pointer, but Kenya’s Mariam Wangare quickly responded with a baseline trey, setting the tone for their eventual 57-47 victory.

Meanwhile, Uganda wasted no time in making their statement, rampaging to a commanding 103-48 win against Tanzania, marking the first century score of the competition.

In the boys’ bracket, Rwanda demonstrated their strength with an 81-52 victory over Kenya, while Uganda’s Junior Silverbacks, buoyed by their fervent supporters, dismantled Rwanda 78-40, culminating in a remarkable 22-0 scoreless spree in the final quarter.

As the competition intensified on Day 2, Uganda continued their commanding performance. The girls’ team overwhelmed Kenya 97-47, just shy of another century, leveraging Kenya’s staggering 71 turnovers into 65 points.

In the boys’ division, Uganda maintained their stride with a resounding 103-48 triumph over Tanzania, reinforcing their dominance with back-to-back century-mark victories.

Heading into the final day of the preliminary rounds, Uganda’s teams remained unbeaten, carrying an impressive 100% record. In a clash of titans, Uganda’s girls secured their second century milestone with a decisive 103-48 win over Tanzania, mirroring their boys’ team success.

 Rwanda, meanwhile, subdued Kenya 56-47, while Tanzania endured a third consecutive defeat against Rwanda’s boys with an 85-43 scoreline. Kenya fell short against Uganda’s boys, succumbing 86-58 in their last group stage encounter.

The Semi-Finals brought forth intense matchups. Uganda’s boys and girls continued their dominant streak, overwhelming Tanzania with emphatic victories of 104-41 and 100-56, respectively.

Rwanda’s rising talent posed a formidable challenge, securing their spots in the Finals with victories over Kenya in both categories.

As the tournament crescendoed to its pinnacle, Uganda’s Lugogo Indoor Arena roared with anticipation. The Junior Silverbacks faced a tightly-contested battle against neighboring Rwanda, culminating in a thrilling 69-66 victory.

Captain Tejan Joel and Peter Sserunji led Uganda’s charge with 15 points each, supported by stellar performances from Gideon Ekukwan and Edrine Ekau.

Meanwhile, in the girls’ final, Uganda’s Junior Gazelles left no doubts from the onset. They stormed to a commanding 82-52 victory over Rwanda, led by Resty Nanangwe’s 21 points and Shiphrah Kiranda’s 18, securing their place in the upcoming Final Round of the FIBA festival in South Africa.

Throughout the tournament, Uganda’s youth basketball program showcased not only their talent but also their meticulous preparation and unwavering determination.

The support from passionate fans at Lugogo Indoor Arena further fueled their performances, setting the stage for a promising future in African basketball.

For Uganda, this triumph in the 2024 FIBA U18 African Championships Qualifiers signifies more than just victories on the court—it represents a testament to their commitment to nurturing young talent and elevating the standard of basketball in the region.

As they look ahead to the Final Round in South Africa, Uganda’s Junior Silverbacks and Junior Gazelles are poised to continue their impressive journey, carrying the hopes and dreams of a nation that celebrates their achievements with pride.

In conclusion, the 2024 qualifiers have not only showcased Uganda’s dominance but also underscored their potential to make significant strides on the continental stage, reaffirming their status as a force to be reckoned with in African youth basketball.

Photo: FIBA

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