- BASKETBALL. The success of the event that concluded at the Lugogo Arena yesterday elevated basketball to new heights with the Linglong expressing interest to back the sport more in Uganda.
KAMPALA. Basketball followers in the country have every reason to be in triumphant mood.
Shandong Linglong chairman and CEO Wang Feng attended Tuesday’s Zone V cracker between Uganda’s City Oilers and Rwanda’s Patriots and has promised to invest more in local basketball.
The intensity of the game and end-to-end drama between two quality sides was so compelling that Wang was left in awe. The basketball diehard, who was in the country on official business, has committed to supporting the sport that continues to grow in leaps and bounds.
“I have never seen anything like this before,” Wang remarked moments after Oilers outlasted Patriots 77-73. “The passion, the crowd and the quality of play was incredible.”
Best game ever
Observers have ranked the Oilers-Patriot group game among the best to have been staged on Ugandan soil.
For 40 minutes the two sides traded their best chances with centre A’Darius Pegues and guard Aristide Mugabe excelling for Oilers and Patriots respectively.
Linglong already support Ugandan basketball with a commitment to funding the national team, Silverbacks. Linglong have also previously supported four-time Ugandan basketball champions City Oilers.
They were also one of the sponsors of the Zone V Championships that ended yesterday along with Mandela Group, Enoc and Stanbic Bank. The renewed backing of Wang, who regularly plays pick-up basketball, and Linglong for the game in Uganda will be like ‘manna’ from heaven.
Basketball’s popularity in the country is unabated but like many sports, its Achilles heel has been inadequate funding.
Only last month, the national team was in desperation just days to the Afro-Basketball Championships in Senegal, Dakar before government released $120,000 (an estimated Shs485m) 48 hours to departure.
Uganda’s male and female sides have competed at Afro-Basketball in recent times while Oilers have locked horns with the continent’s best at the Africa Club Championships.