22 January 2009

UGANDA : Afidra, Okias out of team set for Africa Zone 5 Champions’p

by Sande Bashaija

Sadolin Power skipper Isaac Afidra and three-time MTN-Fuba League top soccer Stephen Okias have been left out of the national team preparing for the Africa Championship Zone 5 qualifiers due next month in Burundi.

Afidra, who was instrumental as Power outclassed record league champions Falcons to lift their third championship, is nursing a toe injury, according to Federation of Uganda Basketball Associations (Fuba) assistant general secretary Joseph Manano.

Okias also sprained his ankle and knee as Warriors bowed out at the league semifinal stage last year. The duo didn’t turn up for trials held last weekend at Uganda Christian University (UCU) Mukono as the team was trimmed from 39 to 20 players. The Malinga brothers Henry and Eric plus their Falcons teammate Sam Obol also missed the one-day trials but were included on the team.
“All players that didn’t attend the trials were given consideration but its unfortunate some stars are going to miss the tournament,” Manano said yesterday. Warriors team captain Brian Gumisiriza, who struggled with knee problems in the league play-offs, has also been left out.

Manano said the selected players would begin non-residential training today evening. The Seychelles-based Stephen Omwony is expected to link up with the team later this month.

The two-time former Most Valuable Player has however said that he hasn’t been contacted by Fuba. “We hope to get in touch with him (Omony) soon after sorting out the logistical requirements,” Manano said last week.

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