25 October 2013

UGANDA : Owino in the Spotlight As Play-Offs Start

Calm and animated at times, Riham Warriors' new head coach Ronnie Owino was the centre of attraction on Tuesday night as his charges defeated City Oilers 63-57.
The result meant that Warirors ended the regular season in third position and will face six-seeded Ndejje University Angels in the play-off quarterfinals. As much as there will be pressure on Warriors to defend their title, Owino is going to attract a lot of scrutiny in regards to whether he was indeed the right choice.
Warriors boss Ambrose Tashobya told The Observer there is no way they would have hired Owino at this critical time if he hadn't believed in his tactical abilities. Revitalising the Warriors' spirit of consistency is what Owino is expected to do in this short time; something Emmanuel Samanya, his predecessor, failed. Against Oilers, though, they just showed glimpses of that.
In fact, many Warriors players are still struggling for form, which is why he rotated his team around only seven players. Essentially, Owino is one of the most highly-rated coaches in East Africa. Turning 50 in seven months' time, he has enjoyed a great deal of success at club and national team level especially in his homeland Kenya.
In 2000, 2002 and 2003, he guided the Kenya men's team to the East and Central Africa Zone five winners medals. Owino has won the Kenya National Basketball League four times with both men's and women's teams. Eric Malinga, one of Warriors' players told The Observer such a record and the man himself, has boosted the team.
After the Oilers game, Owino interestingly said: "My players are good and I believe we can defend the title although it would be easy considering the formidable opposition in this league."
So, while Warriors may have got their man on a short contract, if his magic doesn't work so fast, they will wonder what would have been had he come in earlier.

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