The stage is set for the start of this year's Federation of Uganda Basketball Associations (Fuba) National Basketball League (NBL) this evening at the Lugogo indoor stadium, writes NDYAMUHAKI EMANZI.
City Oilers, the four-time defending men’s champions, will be the team to beat. After losing Kami Kabange, who returned to play in the Rwandese league, national team captain Steven Omony has joined them from Falcons.
Oilers coach Mandy Juruni believes replacing Kabange is impossible, and the arrival of Joseph Chuma and James Deng is simply to bolster the team.
Return of Power?
Even after playing the bigger part of last season with only eight players, Sunday Okot, Diego Angemi and Francis Kasinde are the new faces expected to give Power the thrust, to stave off the 4-1 series loss in the 2016 play-off finals.
Warriors started by replacing coach Sam Obol with Ronnie Mutebi. It is a new dawn at Warriors with the arrival of Mike Bazangu, Said Amisi, Aaron Ajjo and point-guard Daniel Gaaki as marquee signings.
They are expected to replace Ivan Enabu, Marial Anyuit, Eric Malinga and Nigerian Ahmed Temitope, yet supplement Philip Ameny, arguably the team’s best player last season, Mark Opio, Ceaser Kizito and Syrus Kiviri.
KIU Titans will be desperate to shrug off the tag of chokers this season. Despite winning 22 successive games in 25 games last season, they fell at the semi-final stage.
But KIU coach Hamza Nyambogo, who will be under a lot of scrutiny this season has brought in Joseph Bwanga, Francis Mbuyi, Gideon Kasasa and Caesar Adoke to supplement the efforts of stars Chris Omanye, Ivan Lumanyika and Captain Sudi Ulanga.
Brian Namake, Jonathan Egau, Steven Wundi, Yahaya Kalyesubula and Fadhil Chuma are expected to pull the strings again for UCU, who for the first time in many years, have not lost any important player in the close season.
Having won the last two championships, Lady Canons have the experience of Ritah Imanishimwe, Judith Nansobya, Zainah Lokwameri and team captain Vilma Achieng. The return of post player Lorraine Akinyi should make them more unplayable.
Rogers Sserunyigo is the new KCCA coach, replacing Timothy Odeke. But without guard Flavia Okecho and Muhayimuna Namuwaya who joined emerging force JKL Lady Dolphins, KCCA are going to be in a rebuilding phase. Its success will depend on how fast Sylvia Nakazibwe, Cynthia Irankunda and Grace Wanjiku fit in.
Fuba basketball league
UCU Ladies vs A1 Challenge
City Oilers vs Power