10 January 2014

UGANDA : Steely Omondi joins Oilers from Falcons

Kenyan Jeff Omondi (R) seizes possession for Falcons during last season’s final play-off series against City Oilers at Lugogo. Oilers won the series 4-3.
Kenyan Jeff Omondi (R) seizes possession for Falcons during last season’s final play-off series against City Oilers at Lugogo. Oilers won the series 4-3. PHOTO by Ismail Kezaala. 
By Sande Bashaija

Posted  Thursday, January 9   2014 at  02:00
To many, City Oilers were surprise champions of the Airtel-Fuba League last season. This year, Oilers will start the league as outright favourites for the title.
With the addition of Kenyan Geoff Omondi from Falcons and the likely acquisition of DMark Power’s Ben Komakech, the champions are set to send out an intimidating squad. “Omondi has agreed to join us. He will add a lot to the team,” Oilers team manager Silver Rugambwa said in a recent interview, confirming the capture of one of the most tenacious players in the Ugandan league.
“He is versatile and will give us options at number one and three. We also struggled to score from outside the arc last season and Omondi is one of the best three-point shooters in the league.” Falcons official Henry Ssemanda, however, expressed shock at the news of his star’s departure.
“We haven’t cleared anyone to leave the club,” Ssemanda, who joined Falcons management after the death of his brother John Ssimbwa, the club patron, said. “I gave Omondi transport to Kenya after the finals and haven’t heard from him since.”
Omondi was one of the best performers for Falcons as they recovered from a poor regular season where they finished seventh to reach the play-off finals. The former Rhino and UCU Canons star was unlucky to get injured in the final series. He missed Game 2, 3 and 5 with a groin problem. He had to take pain-killing jabs to feature in Falcons’ 75-63 Game 6 victory.
But after Oilers, playing in their first topflight season won the decider 72-64 to wrap up the title, it was clear they would attract the best talent in the country. One such talent that might make Oilers a more robust outfit is two-time MVP Komakech.
Unwilling to give away too much, Rugambwa admitted they were in contact with Komakech but nothing concrete has been done. Although Power are doing everything in their means to hold onto the calmness-personified guard, a trustworthy source has revealed Komakech has made up his mind for the switch.
The departure of the free-scoring Kami Kabange could, however, leave Oilers with a gap too big to fill. Kabange, a favourite for play-offs MVP, is closing in on a switch to Al Rayyan, one of the most successful clubs in Qatar. “He was meant to go to Morocco but had a change of mind,” Rugambwa revealed. “While the offer from Morocco was bigger financially, we feel Qatar is a better destination for his career.” In case the Rwandan talisman’s transfer succeeds, Oilers plan to raid Rwandan side Espoir and sign Kabange’s former teammate Bienvenue Ngandu. In Ngandu, Oilers will have another star, who was recently voted the best defensive player for the second season running in the Rwandan league. He was also named MVP for the just-concluded season.

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