26 April 2013

UGANDA : Falcons’ day out

Hot on the heels of their one-sided win over Charging Rhino on Wednesday nightin the new Airtel national basketball league, new-look Galaxy Falcons take on Ndejje Angels in a tricky game that could either way, writes Felix Eupal.A lot has changed since Falcons finished runners-up to Warriors last season. They let go several players such as Julius Lutwama, Brian Ssentongo, Francis Tumusiime and Edward Kateregga. Off the court, they acquired a new sponsor in Galaxy FM and with it a huge financial package.
Prior to the start of the season, they pulled a stunt by organising a party for fans, who filled Club Amnesia on Tuesday evening and fundraised more than Shs 12m. However, the most successful club in Ugandan basketball left a lot to be desired before their league opener on Wednesday night.
For a team that is vying for a seventh league title, it came as a shock when they fielded only seven players in Timothy Otim, Peter Elungat, Steven Mwesigye, Herbert Akita, Steven Omony and Geoffrey Omondi. So confused they looked that newly-appointed assistant coach Sam Obol had to play because the team couldn’t make the required numbers.
Their foreign imports Abdullahi Ramathan and Phillip Amenyi are yet to return from Tanzania and Kenya respectively while recent signing Moses Okwera has not been cleared. Meanwhile, former Dmark Power player Richard Balemwa, who was cleared early this week, hasn’t practiced with the team.
Despite the distractions, the depleted Falcons were still too good for Rhino and easily won 89-53. However, tonight’s opponents Ndejje will not be pushovers. The university side has beefed up their squad with former Falcons players Tumusiime and Ssentongo.
Ndejje are yet to play a game this season because their would-be opener last Sunday was postponed after Victoria Heaters asked Fuba for more time to put their house in order. Ndejje coach Walker Obedi is aiming to improve this season after the team reached the playoff quarterfinals last season.
“My players have improved a lot and the team is better. So just expect us to do the best we can in every game,” he says. With last season’s regular season MVP Geoffrey Soro in fine shape, a lot is expected from this Ndejje team and will definitely give Falcons a stern test.
The game will determine a lot on the future of both teams in this campaign but Falcons head coach Tony Oluka believes his team will walk away with victory. “Ndejje is poor at shooting, they play an inside game, so, we will have to employ a tight zone on them,” he says.

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