UGANDA : Akinyi stands tall in A1‘s path

By Usher Komugisha

SHE dropped 88 points and picked 67 rebounds in four play-off semi-final games this post season.

Lorraine Akinyi, a two-time league top scorer is the one player that A-1 Challenge has to deal with in the best-of-seven final series starting this Friday at Lugogo if they are to end their four year trophy drought.

Her partnership with the current Zone V Club Championship MVP, Anastacia Njeri has brought much fortune to the Mukono based UCU Lady Canons.

Thanks to their experience, A-1 Challenge are in the finals again. Coach Hamza Nyambogo’s side is looking at doing whatever it takes to win the championship this year.

It has been four years since they won a championship title, nevertheless no one doubts A-1’s prowess after edging KCC Leopards 3-2 in the semifinals.

They finished third at the East and Central Africa club championships in 2006, a year after they won their maiden league title. They boast of almost half of the national team players.

But why have they finished just as finalists in the last four years with the same crop of players that won the 2005 championship?

In a repeat of last year’s play-off series that A-1 won 2-0 to make it to the final, skipper Gloria Kyomugisha, Betty Namukasa, Mavita Ali and Josephine Namayega will be key as they try to regain their lost glory.

In an interview, Nyambogo emphasized that he would retire from basketball action if he does not win the title this year.

Can his side defeat the Lady Canons four times in the best-of-seven series to win the title? That will depend on A-1’s defence, on Akinyi and whether the Canons can stop reigning regular season MVP, Hatima Kassim who is also enjoying good form.

A-1 handed the Mukono side their first league defeat (54-52) this season in the first round but were severely hurt when the Lady Canons thumped them 78-49 in the second round.

On the other hand, the Lady Canons will have to replicate the form that saw them lift their maiden title in 2008.