20 July 2012

UGANDA : Is Power losing the plot in Fuba League?

Game on: Power’s Isaac Afidra (L) challenges a Miracle’s Caesar Kizito player during a league game
For the first time in three years, Fuba League defending champions Dmark Power have lost three regular season games.

This evening, the off-form side takes on an unpredictable Ndejje Angels and the outcome will determine a lot of what the future holds for the five-time champions, writes Felix Eupal.
Not a single Dmark Power saw this coming. Amid all the plaudits heaped upon the team after winning a second straight title last season, their coach Bernice Ankunda even joked that his players could be picked off a bar counter and come and run any team down.
But that wasn’t the case last Sunday against Miracle Eagles as Power looked nothing like a defending champion. It was just a complete mishandling of what on paper looked an easy match-up; from the inbounds to the poor shooting on the line to the constant turnovers, Ankunda was clueless throughout the eighty minutes.
For the first time in the season, Miracle looked like title contenders as they comfortably won 70-63. Based on this performance Power can kiss goodbye to their mission of emulating Falcons by winning three straight championships.
Ankunda brushed off the Sunday performance as a “bad day in office” but it was more than just that. For one, Isaac Afidra, an influential figure in all Power’s championships, struggled to make a single point the entire game.
On the other hand, Ndejje Angels are not faring any better. The currently sixth-placed university side lost to minnows Heaters 36-46 on the same evening and are about to lose their best player Geoffrey Soro.
Coupled with the animated antics of their coach Walker Obedi, who is always provoking referees into fights, Ndejje seems like a team without ambition. For a team that started the season hyping itself as title contenders, averaging a mere 40 points per game is a damning indictment.
Earlier in the first round, Ndejje came very close to outwitting Power before falling short 69-76 three months ago. Anything but a win could leave their playoff hopes hanging by a thread.
Meanwhile, Power are as desperate for the win as they bid to avoid facing the big guns in the playoff draw. Phillip Kyomuhendo, their manager, says: “We need this title more than any other title we have ever won, that’s why we need to win all the remaining games.”
To signal intent, they have signed two foreign players in 20-year-old shooting guard Tafadzwa Brendon Gonyora from Alcc Lions and George Run’anga, a 26-year-old 6’7 centre from Zimbabwean side Cameo. The pair has been training with the team for the past two weeks and is set to make their debut tonight.

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