19 April 2013

UGANDA : Guide to the 2013 Basketball Season

Ahead of tonight's season opener between newcomers City Oilers and 2011 champions Dmark Power at the Lugogo Indoor arena this evening, Felix Eupal gives a lowdown and prospects of the men's top division teams.
Dmark Power:
After a disastrous 2013 season in which they were knocked out at the quarterfinal stage, the 2010/11 champions brought back prodigal son Norman Blick in a move meant to restore their pride and championship challenge. Blick led them to the 2010 championship. Power has also elected Joseph Ikong as team captain with Ben Komaketch as his assistant. On top of that, they have acquired the services of Paul Odong from Bush Court, Derrick Mbusi from Heaters and Daniel Owogi from St Michael. On the other hand, Power also offloaded Collins Mukiza, Jimmy Enabu and Richard Balemwa.
City Oilers:
The league debutants made quite a statement when they won the 2013 edition of the UCU Basketball Open last month despite just one week of practice. It's their third year in existence and they have already progressed each year. Their target is to win the league in five years. As for this season, they have set the bar at making the playoffs. To achieve that, they signed point guard Yusuf Ramathan from Miracle, Jimmy Enabu from Power, Arou Ramadan from Kenya's USIU and last year's winning coach Mandy Juruni.
UCU Canons:
Ask any Canons fan and they will tell you they have waited enough for a championship but all in vain. They will also tell you that this year; they are ready to get the monkey off their backs. Canons have never failed to make playoffs since joining topflight in 2007. Their biggest undoing, however, is losing players at the end of every season and having to rebuild a new team each year.
This season, they don't have such worries, having only lost Robert Ogweno. They have beefed up their squad by bringing back Sam Lukaire from junior side UCU JV. In addition, they have improved their back court with the services of forward Ivan Lumanyika from Miracle and improved on the front court by adding point guard Cyrus Kiviri from Warriors as well as Jonathan Egau from Kings. Ndejje Angels:
Last year, the university side made the playoffs and has kept the same team. In a bid to go a step better, they signed Francis Tumusiime and Brian Ssentogo from Falcons plus Dixon Ayega from Heaters. By press time, they were on the verge of signing Stephen Okias from Warriors.
Galaxy Falcons:
The six-time champions have been silent in preseason and the only news from their camp was the acquisition of a new sponsor in form of Galaxy Fm. That's why they are now called Galaxy Falcons. However, they lost Ssentogo, Tumusiime, Julius Lutwama and Edwin Kateregga. At the moment, they are in talks with Heaters' Moses Okwera, Power rejects Balemwa and Mukiza.
Kyambogo Warriors:
Can defending champions Warriors do it again? Most probably not. That's the answer most pundits will give you due to the fact that they lost several key players like Blick, Kiviri and coach Juruni. Emma Samanya, who has been assistant coach for some time, has been elevated to head coach. Other teams like KIU Titans, Miracle Eagles, Vic Heaters, Charging Rhinos, Nkumba Marines and Vegetarians remain tightlipped about any new developments.

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