UGANDA : Warriors the team to beat

Written by Dorothy Kyamazima

Kyambogo Warriors look set to exorcise the demons that saw them lose last season’s FUBA basketball title, writes Dorothy Kyamazima.

Ever since the Miracle Eagles stepped on the scene as potential contenders for the playoffs, tongues have been wagging, not only because of their aptitude but also because of how it would go down when they stepped up to play among the big boys.

For a team that banks on the Blick brothers, Steven Omony and a set of more talented players, Miracle’s position was hyped; so, you can imagine the euphoria when the Eagles had a faceoff with Kyambogo Warriors last Friday.

The beauty behind the exhilarating show that had both teams exude raw talent was because they were at par when it came to rankings and were chasing that top slot. In the end, however, Warriors snatched the victory in the last minutes of the fourth quarter as the Eagles who had put up such a fight powered down.

Why Warriors
When the Warriors lost their title to D’mark Power last year, a lot was said that contributed to that loss. This time however, they are proving that the past is behind them.

Juruni the X factor
See, ever since Warriors took on the expertise of former UCU Lady Canons’ coach, Mandy Juruni, to pick up the pieces, things have been looking up for the 2009 league champions. After what seemed like a period of utter confusion and disappointment within the team during Gad Etau’s era as coach and the loss of valuable players like Abdullah Ramadan and Josh Etalu, Warriors have a formidable team under Juruni’s leadership.

Contrary to what most pundits thought of Juruni (that he lacked the ability to steer a men’s team), today, he has a field day, disproving not only the pundits but his rivals as well. After his success with the KCC Leopards and the Lady Canons last year, Juruni is the perfect description of the difference a good coach can make on a team.

With only one loss to Charging Rhinos this season, Warriors is at the top of the list and the most favourable contender for the title this year. However, Juruni was quick to note during the game on Friday against the Eagles that it could have gone either way, and being a good coach takes more than just being able to manage the team; it also includes studying the players and knowing what they can do well.

Team composure
When it comes to team composure, no team can match Warriors especially now that they have one of the best defending player, Carlos Ochi along with the Malinga brothers, Eric and Henry Malinga. In fact the two left a lot of wreckage behind when they tore up the paint with a total of 19 and 18 points respectively.

Teaming the likes of Ivan Enabu and Ronnie Kasewu and Steven Okias together, the federation might have one of the best teams to be put together.