In their attempt to stave off possible relegation, Betway Power, the five-time champions, lost to Namuwongo Blazers 59-81 in the National Basketball League (NBL) action over the weekend in Mukono.
Power has thus lost all its six league games in the regular season, and with three more left to play, including KCCA Panthers, UCU Canons and Falcons, Power are staring down the barrel of relegation for the first time in their history.
However, how has it got to this level? After the 2019 season, the club decided to let go of its star cast, which included: Joseph Ikong, Paul ‘McGyver’ Odongo, Phillip Ameny, Geoffrey Soro, Fahmy Sebatindira and Michael Kojo, among others.
The aforementioned players guar- anteed a semi-final berth each sea- son at least for the bigger part of the last decade; they were competitive. But Phillip Kyomuhendo, the team manager, said the management felt it was no longer enough. They needed a team that could win, which prompted them to discard of the old guard and start anew.
Kyomuhendo said: “We had not won since 2011; so, we had to bring fresh and hungry players.”
But some of the club’s fans, who preferred anonym- ity found the move ridiculous, citing that re-building does not necessitate overhauling the team, which was done, leaving the club in such a peril- ous situation.
In fact, the Power management has been earmarked as lacking in game awareness and team-building as a result. But Kyomuhendo disputed this, saying that as much as he under- stands the frustrations, the decision taken by management was the best.
Today, apart from Isaac Afidra, who was part of their 2008, 2010 and 2011 success, the rest of the team is littered with novices. Kyomuhendo insisted that in two to three years, these youthful players will prove their worth. He added that they did the same thing to revamp the side
in 2008, when they brought in Ikong and Ben Komakech, before Jimmy Enabu, Emmanuel Enabu and Isaac Lugudde joined later, to make the team a fortress.
Notably, in his heart of hearts, comparing the 2008 team to the current one should feel as an exaggeration for Kyomuhendo. When Ikong and Komakech arrived, Power had stalwarts in Julius Wapera, David Kiberu, Afidra, Isaac Katumba, Steven Ssengoba, Allan Tawoda, Mark Enabu, Ken Balyejusa and Richard Balemwa.