25 November 2008
UGANDA : Falcons seek to claw back against Power
by Sande Bashaija
Livingstone v St Michael
Knight Riders v Ndejje
A-1 Challenge v UCU
Falcons v Sadolin Power
Record champions Falcons are well aware of the task ahead when they face Sadolin Power in game two of the MTN-Fuba League play-off finals at Lugogo Indoor Stadium.
The defending champions were humiliated 109-85 in game one last week and will definitely be under pressure to level the best of five series if they are to keep their title hunt on track.
“We played badly in the opener. We have tried to iron out our mistakes and the boys are ready for the clash. I know its going to be a very tough game,” Falcons’ boss John Ssimbwa said yesterday.
History still favours Falcons, the side having come from 2-0 to win championships in 2002 and 2007.
The mere fact that Power were the victims in 2002 is a psychological advantage for Falcons. However, Ssimbwa confesses that they won’t take anything for granted. “We like taking it one game at a time. Much as I am confident in the team handling pressure, we won’t look back to history.”
Falcons will however be without their much respected Kenyan coach Thomas ‘Smarts’ Olumbo, the man that turned the out of sorts side into champions last year. His young brother Kaunda Olumbo will assume the mantle but must learn how to control his temper. The coach came to near blows with centre player Brian Ssentongo as Power ran over them in the opener.
Power in high spirits
Power last won a championship in 2000 but have vowed to end their title drought. “This is our year. There are many factors motivating us to win this championship,” team skipper Isaac Afidra said after game one. Afidra was outstanding in game one, the utility player scoring 24 points besides out marking the Malinga brothers, Eric and Henry.
After a lackluster performance that saw them score 24 points in game one, 2005 women champions A-1 Challenge face UCU Lady Canons hoping to bounce back and level the series. “This is our championship. Come to me again after the series,” A-1 Challenge coach Hamza Nyambongo said. The youthful coach must however polish up his team’s movements to help them match the Lady Canons’ fast-paced game. Knight Riders face Ndejje University in the men’s Second Division while Livingstone entertain St Michael in Third Division finals.