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Best, worst of 2018 sports

Our editorial team looks back at the sporting year, with their worst and best picks of 2018.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR

Vianney: Croatia’s run-up to the World Cup final was a highlight for me.

Jeff: Uganda Cranes qualifying for Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals. Also, LeBron James moving to the Lakers, and the semi-final match at the US open tennis tournament between John Isner and Kevin Anderson, are unforgettable.

Mugalu: I also go for the Cranes qualifying for the Afcon 2019.

Vianney: Okay, Cranes did well but Croatia exceeded expectations, for me. The way they went about their business, playing some pretty football up to the final, was indeed pleasing.

Kisakye: KAVC winning NSSF KAVC international volleyball tournament against Rwanda’s Gisagara VC. For a moment, it was Uganda vs Rwanda and that usually heightens the tensions.

Sebugwawo: SC Villa beating Express FC 2-0 last Friday. And also Liverpool beating Manchester United 3-1 on December 16.

Alon: By the way, my highlight of the year is Wakiso Giants Football Club. The way it has emerged from nowhere has blown me away.

Akram: Lewis Hamilton winning his fifth Formula 1 championship.

Kabuye: Liverpool reaching the Uefa Champions League final.

WORST MOMENT

Vianney: Guys, nothing can beat the helicopter crash, that killed the Leicester City Football club owner Vichai Srivaddnapranha, right outside the club stadium.

Mugalu: England losing to Croatia in the World Cup semi-finals, really hurt.

Kisakye: I expected a tighter Moto GP championship, and not a procession that Marc Marquez is having. I always berate F1 fans for the lack of competition in F1 but it’s been the same for Moto GP. Also SC Villa’s slump has really hurt.

Jeff: For me, that Serena Williams outburst at the US open tennis final, when she lost to Naomi Osaka. It was really embarrassing. Not nice.

Alon: Actually, Fufa’s decision to ban referees for five years, following a recent league match between Express FC and Vipers SC. I found that decision insane.

Akram: Real Madrid winning the third successive Uefa Champions League title really hurt me.

Kabuye: Sergio Ramos deliberately injuring Mohammed Salah in the Uefa Champions League final.

Sebugwawo: Losing to Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

BREAKTHROUGH STAR

Jeff: Vipers midfielder Moses Waiswa impressed me, when he played for The Cranes. You can even see he was voted the player of the year by Fufa. Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka was another breakthrough star.

Kisakye: I am The Cranes’ biggest critic. But I see growth in the team. So, the team is my breakthrough star.

Vianney: For me, it is Cranes forward, Patrick Kaddu. His strike against Cape Verde, that ensured Cranes won 1-0 and ultimately qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, capped it. Similarly, Jamilah Nansikombi of the JKL Lady Dolphins basketball club, was superb this year in inspiring a first National Basketball League title for her team.

Mugalu: Patrick Kaddu, no doubt.

Kakaire: Also me, Patrick Kaddu.

Akram: I will go Jadon Sancho, the Englishman plying his trade at Dortmund. He is such a talent.

Kabuye: For me, Alisson Becker.

Sebugwawo: Xherdan Shaqiri.

BIGGEST SPORTS EVENT

Mugalu: Definitely the Fifa World Cup.

Jeff: Me too, Fifa World Cup.

Kisakye: World Cup obviously...

Vianney: I couldn’t agree more with you. There were some big moments like the Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick against Spain.

Kakaire: I also think the World Cup in Russia was huge.

Akram: Golden State Warriors winning the NBA title.

What will you miss most from 2018?

Akram: I will miss watching Andreas Iniesta regularly now that he is in Japan since he left Barcelona, and also retired from international football.

Vianney: I will miss Jennifer Musisi for her contribution to sport in the country. Her resignation as executive director of Kampala Capital City Authority will have a huge impact on football, because we all know how much her efforts have inspired change at the football club; reaching the group stages of the Caf Champions League and Caf Confederation Cup. Also, other sports like athletics, boxing and basketball, have benefited from her goodwill.

Alon: I will miss nothing from 2018!

Mugalu: I will miss Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho. I will miss Mourinho’s drama. The Premier League is going to be boring.

Kabuye: I will miss Mourinho. I wanted to see Manchester United continue to suffer.

TEAM OF THE YEAR

Vianney: That is definitely the Crested Cranes. Our women’s football team won silver at the Cecafa women’s championship in Rwanda and also bagged a bronze at the Cosafa Championship in South Africa. I think Fufa has done an incredible job with women’s football this year. But I must give due credit to Black Pirates Rugby Club for their 2018 exploits, as they dominated Ugandan rugby.

Kakaire: Real Madrid is my team of the year. They have defended the Uefa Champions League trophy for the third successive year, which is unprecedented.

Alon: Wakiso Giants FC is my team of the year. They are small in size, but very big in terms of visibility. I like the wave they have caused in Ugandan football.

Jeff: The Uganda Cranes qualified without conceding a goal in Afcon qualifiers.

Mugalu: That is undoubtedly Liverpool. We have been amazing this year.

Akram: McLaren Mercedes, although I am a Red Bull fan.

Kabuye: My team of the year is the Uganda Cranes.

SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR

Mugalu: That is Kylian Mbappe. The guy has made headlines.

Kisakye: I will give that award to Sebastien Desabre. He has raised Cranes’ profile, after guiding them to another Afcon. Emmanuel Okwi has had a good year too.

Alon: Arthur Blick Jr. He retired from Motocross, but he pledged to continue supporting the growth of the sport.

Jeff: Zinedine Zidane did it for me with his third successive Uefa Champions League title.

Kabuye: Mohammed Salah is the best.

Vianney: I will differ with you guys. Mine is Joshua Cheptegei for winning both the 5,000 and 10,000 metres gold medals for Uganda at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia. Also, Egypt and Liverpool forward Mohammed Salah has left me in awe for his exceptional displays.

Akram: Lewis Hamilton, no doubt.

THE VILLAIN OF THE YEAR

Kisakye: I am disappointed in Alvaro Morata. He is my villain of the year.

Vianney: The Australian Cricket team, that was involved in a ball tampering incident, during their test match with South Africa early this year. For a sporting team, that has a lot of international acclaim, cricket was brought into disrepute following the cheating Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft tried in order to win.

Mugalu: For me, Moses Muhangi and his lot at the Uganda Boxing Federation. It is very disappointing to see innocent pugilists losing their careers because of the administrative wrangles.

Akram: Kawhi Leonard’s decision to dump the San Antonio Spurs for Toronto Raptors, yet the former had been built around him. Such a snake.

Kabuye: Sergio Ramos is a real villain, together with Loris Karius. I cannot forgive Karius for what he did to Liverpool in the Uefa Champions League final.

Alon: For me, the villain of the year is Cranes coach Sebastien Desabre. Although we qualified for Afcon, he didn’t improve the team’s display. I am sure even with Moses Basena, Cranes would have qualified for Afcon.

MOST INSPIRING INITIATIVE 

Akram: The use of video assistant referees (VAR) at the Fifa World Cup was controversial, but also game changing.

Kabuye: I like the VAR even though it slows the game a bit.

Jeff: I also like the VAR initiative.

Vianney: My greatest initiative, was the one of former Cranes skipper Andy Mwesigwa officially retiring early this year, then  opening up a big secondary school campus. The Andy Mwesigwa Education and Sports College in Bugwanya, Kikubampanga, Wakiso district along Hoima road. Mwesigwa is providing scholarships for sportsmen and women in basketball, football, netball and volleyball, among others.

Mugalu: For me, Brian Umony’s football academy is a good initiative. It is a give-back activity to the children in the Naguru slums.

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