06 April 2012

UGANDA : Power pursue history

The MTN-Fuba League starts today at YMCA Court, two weeks later than the provisional calendar suggested but it still seems haphazardly organised. The usual launch of the season done in a hotel lounge has not taken place and the hype about tip-off is almost non-existent. It has just happened. Perhaps, the basketball fraternity is still reminiscing about the marketing success that came with the second edition of the Castle-Lite Friday Night Lights whose curtain fell at the same venue last Friday.
“I don’t know about other guys. I wasn’t ready to start playing,” Joseph Ikong, whose team retained the FNL title, told Daily Monitor.
It’s even easier to find a rumour every hour about Fuba’s attempts to find more partners to meet a targeted cost of Shs400m than news concerning players switching clubs.
Amid all this, the first segment of 508 regular season games and an additional 116 in the playoffs, across three men’s divisions and one women’s, will be unwrapped from morning till when the floodlights are switched on. Fittingly, both champions, DMark Power and UCU Lady Canons, will set the tone against UCU Canons and KIU Rangers respectively.
The journey to return to the adrenalin of December 16 last year when Power skipper Isaac Afidra sunk a long three-pointer with nine seconds to play starts here.
Power beat Warriors 99-79 to win the exhilarating seven game series 4-3 for a fifth crown.

Afidra, also the reigning Most Valuable Player (MVP), will miss the season opener through injury.
But have Power fully recovered from the emotions of that triumph which took them to with one title of record winners Falcons? “I think (last year) is done. It’s actually you who is reminding me about it,” Power point guard Ben Komakech, scorer of the two winning free throws, responded. Power retained the core of their championship-winning team including coach Bernice Ankunda.
They added Colin Mukiza (Miracle Eagles) and Derrick Katumba (Heaters) to the roster.
“Jimmy (Enabu) didn’t play a lot last year so he should be motivated. Colin also wants a first. A third title would be special but this season is going to be harder than the last since many teams are better now,” Komakech, a two-time MVP, added.
This unit has won three of the last four titles and forward Boniface Okello, part of three of those successes having won two others with Nkumba Marines, moved on.
He joined a UCU side that has lost Geoffrey Omondi, Robert Mugabe, Adams Njoroge and American Jachin Wettstone.
This must feel like a fresh start for UCU coach Nicholas Natuhereza, whose hopes are is pinned on new Kenyan point guard Innocent Odour.

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