24 August 2012

UGANDA : Ugandans Face Early Zone Five Exit

What was initially billed as the perfect platform to showcase how far Uganda's basketball had come could turn into a nightmare if pre-tournament favourites Warriors and UCU Lady Canons fail to win their second round-robin fixtures this evening, writes Felix Eupal.
At last, the Lugogo arena hosted basketball matches for the first time in more than two years when the 2012 Zone V club championship rolled off on Monday. Excitement was in the air and the full house gleefully cheered on the home teams.
In the end, however, they returned home with frowns than smiles - Warriors lost 56-72 to Rwanda's Espoir while Kenya's Eagle Wings beat the Lady Canons 75-64. Only KCCA Leopards managed a 63-50 win over Burundi's Barco Stars.
The losses leave Warriors and Lady Canons in precarious positions and the pair could be out of the tournament if they fail to win against Tanzania's Savio and APR of Rwanda respectively.
So crestfallen was Warriors coach Mande Juruni that he just coiled on the floor for minutes without saying a word. In fact, he had already given up as early as the third quarter if his posture of folding hands is anything to go by.
In the meantime, club chairman Ambrose Tashobya - who also doubles as Fuba president - described the events as 'the worst day of his life.' Tashobya had spent the last few days running up and down lobbying authorities to access the arena. So it was understandable when he described the day's events thus.
It was unexpected of Warriors to struggle to get the ball close to the opponents hoop or to make repetitive turnovers. To cap off a bad day at the office, Juruni's team rotation limited his best point guard Ivan Enabu to only 18 minutes.
Espoir coach Jean Bahufite explains: "As long as you do the little things right, all the other things fall in place". Against Savio this evening, Warriors need to borrow a leaf from Bahufite.
On the other hand, Lady Canons coach Boniface Okello will hope for good fortune against APR. In the absence of regular starters, Brenda Mbone and Purity Odhiambo, (they are technically ruled out of the tournament because a team can only field two foreign based players), UCU lack depth.
So, Maureen Amoding and Loraine Akinyi, who scored 24 and 23 points respectively in the loss to Eagle Wings, will yet again have to carry the team on their shoulders.

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