The pain of going two seasons without a championship is certain to motivate Falcons to dig deeper this year.
“We are determined to work a little bit harder this time round,” Falcons patron John Ssimbwa said yesterday.
Falcons came close to winning a record seventh championship last season but were edged by Warriors at the semi-final stage. Many pointed to their thin squad as being Falcons’ biggest undoing last term and Ssimbwa insists the problem will be ironed out. “I believe we shall not be as thin as we were last season,” he said. It is understood that Falcons have signed Kenya Cooperative Bank’s Richard Osano in a bid to bolster their squad and are looking to add more players before the season gets underway in March.
“I can’t tell you who we are signing at the moment but our squad will have new faces,” Ssimbwa noted. With all the pressure now on Warriors to defend the championship, Ssimbwa reckons Falcons will be the team to beat as usual.
“It will be exciting to see how Warriors deal with the pressure,” he said. “I believe we have the potential to topple them.”
Falcons will be boosted by the return of Henry Malinga, who struggled through last season’s play-offs with knee problems. “I now feel better and ready to play,” Malinga, arguably the best centre player in Uganda, said on Saturday. Warriors, though, are not sitting back. “We want to start pre-season training before the end of this month,” Warriors coach Gad Eteu said. “I know all teams will be plotting against us but we are not scared.” “We respect all our opponents but will take it a game at a time.”
Eteu, voted coach of the year 2009, said he plans to recruit at least five players and lay-off some.