27 June 2011

UGANDA : Rude awakening for Falcons

Written by Dorothy Kyamazima

Falcons have a new sponsor, coach and to spice it up, new players. In short, this just looks like the comeback season for the six-time record champions. Dorothy Kyamazima begs to differ.

Following the sudden and painful demise of club founder John Ssimbwa, the man left in charge of steering 7Up Falcons into a new era, Dennis Mbidde, seems to be making a quick fix. Mbidde, who is charged with ensuring a smooth transition for the once indomitable Falcons, made it clear he is ‘not here to stay.’

That said, he has wasted no time in trying to rejuvenate the team. First, he has got a new sponsor in 7Up, which has pumped Shs 130m into the team. Then again, the club also signed new players in Phillip Amenyi and Abdullah Ramathan, not to mention a new coach, Zsirivar Mwogi. The quickly assembled team raises a lot of questions.

For one, have all these players developed that particular bond? Half, if not the majority of the team, are newcomers. It is very obvious the secret weapon behind any team success is teamwork. However, with players that hardly know one another, Falcons is like an engine with no lubrication. How will Falcons soar to great heights with its new ensemble that lacks the chemistry?

Last Friday, they gave Kyambogo Warriors a scare and at one time led by 12 points before things quickly fell apart before losing the exciting tie. The idea of bringing in more players from abroad still sounds like a messy one at the moment. Mbidde says the team is still scouting for more talented players from as far as Nigeria and Angola.

How will a team whose chemistry is questionable be able to afford and work with such players? With Amenyi and Ramathan carrying the team on their shoulders, isn’t 7Up Falcons more likely to walk the same path as Miracle, which heavily depends on the top two players?

Against Warriors, the 33-year-old Ramathan led the team with 26 points while Amenyi also made his presence with 11 rebounds.

On the other hand, just when one might think it’s an identity crisis Falcons is facing despite their overly talented bench, the hopes of Falcons actually stepping into the playoffs will greatly be determined by Mwogi.

The former US college basketball player faces the challenge of getting acquainted with players. That said, there is hope Falcons will pull up its socks against defending champions D’Mark Power this Friday.

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