04 April 2014

UGANDA : Transfer Fever As Basketball Topflight Nears

just weeks before the start of the 2014 Airtel National Basketball league, Felix Eupal assesses the activities of leading teams in player transfer market.
City Oilers:
The defending champions set the ball rolling by capturing the services of point guard Jeff Omondi from Falcons, Ben Komakech from Power and Michael Otieno from Kampala University. Others are Emmanuel Okumu from Gulu hawks and Adam Kakuru from Heaters.
Having recruits early has enabled them practise and get into the team structure. Just like a kid with a new toy, Oilers took them out on a test run for the UCU Open and they were able to lose at the finals.
Coupled with their old squad, they look like a team ready to do what Nkumba Marines did in 2005/06-win the title back to back.
Tiger Head Power:
A new sponsor in China battery production firm Tiger Head, the five-time champions believe no one can stop them with the acquisition of the quintet of Ivan Enabu, Adbullahi Ramadan, Phillip Amenyi, Francis Odom and Moses Olobo.
On paper, coach Barnes Ankunda has the best squad in the league; all that is left is for him to get his charges to winning ways. And the question is: Can deliver the team its sixth title that they want so badly?
Sources close to the team confirm that the record champions are on the verge of closing a deal with health provider AAR. New club patron Friday Kagoro so far has been able to acquired the services of Cyrus Kiviri and Sande Okot from Canons. They have also added on Emmanuel Ateng who was away on studies in India.
But with the departure of Amenyi, they have a big hole to fill because Warriors is flirting with their power forward Serge Kabangu. The other question is whether Sam Obol can lead the ship.
The two-time champions are in talks with one of the banks to finance their purse this season, which makes one wonder what is happening to their affair with soda makers Riham Cola. They have brought back the services of Gad Eteu as head coach.
Eteu needs no introduction to Ugandan basketball but recycling old clothes doesn't make them new. So, what new thing will he offer when the season tips off?
Warriors have so far got their hands on Herbert Akitah and Joshua Etalu but they are keeping a tight lip on any more signings ahead of the season.
It has been eight painful years for the Canon fans; will this be the year when they get the monkey off their backs? Nick Natuhereza, their coach prefers to assert: "The "talking will be done on court."
He hasn't revealed any names on the want list but confirms they will be making "some additions." As usual, their shopping basket is from outside the country. But at least they still have the services of Sudi Ulanga and centre Desmon Owili.
KIU Titans:
For the first time, the Titans will havea new coach after relieving Nimrod Kaboha of his services. They have been 'almost there' for too long as well.
To change that script, they acquired Sam Gombya, the tallest player in East African basketball. And with the old squad in tack, they will still be giant killers like last year.

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