Saturday December 30 2017

Countdown: 20- 11 top athletes of 2017

Clockwise: MUZAMIR KATENDE, MICHAEL WOKORACH,

Clockwise: MUZAMIR KATENDE, MICHAEL WOKORACH, PIUS OGENA, GEOFFREY KAKETO, DAVID AYITI, JIMMY ENABU, EMILLY LEKURU, IVAN MAGOMU, LILIAN AJIO, JOYCE LALAM and MUZAMIR KATENDE 

By Monitor team

How we ranked the 50 athletes for 2017
KAMPALA. The Nation Media Group’s stables in Uganda bring together a little under thirty sports journalists. These journalists cover a multiplicity of sporting disciplines and have accrued bags of experience. Over the past two months, the journalists converged to put together a list of fifty athletes whose performances in 2017 were definitive.

How the list was put together
Each journalist was asked to craft a list of 50 Ugandan athletes they think stood head and shoulders above their peers in 2017. The list was supposed to be arranged in descending order, with No.1 being their best choice.

Ranking system explained
Common denominators were aggregated from each journalist’s list. The more common denominators translated into a higher ranking for the athlete in question. If athletes were level on points in the scoring, a five-strong team would be tasked to vote to provide a tiebreaker.

Panel
Mark Namanya (Daily Monitor Sports Editor), Robert Madoi (NTV Sports Editor), Fred Musisi Kyingi (Ennyanda Editor), Caesar Abangirah (Daily Monitor Deputy Sports Editor), Innocent Ndawula (Score Editor), Raul Kanyike (Ennyanda Deputy Editor/Daily Monitor Contributor) Andrew Mwanguhya (Daily Monitor Sports reporter), Patrick Kanyomozi (KFM Sports Editor), Joel Khamadi (NTV Sport Anchor), Ismail Dhakaba Kigongo (Daily Monitor sports reporter, panelist Kfm and Ntv sport), Makhtum Muziransa (Daily Monitor Sports reporter), Allan Darren Kyeyune (Daily Monitor Sports reporter), Deus Bugembe (Daily Monitor Sports reporter), Derrick Ntege (NTV Sport reporter), Sam Mpoza (NTV Sport reporter), Elvis Ssenono (Daily Monitor Sports reporter), Abdulnasser Tajudeen (Daily Monitor Sports reporter), Aminah Babirye (Daily Monitor sports photojournalist), Eddie Chicco (Daily Monitor sports photojournalist), Ismail Kezaala (Daily Monitor sports photojournalist), Dennis Bbosa (Daily Monitor Sports reporter)

20. JIMMY ENABU
It will very had to find a Ugandan sportsmen or woman who has improved as much as Jimmy Enabu over the past four years. Once a flinty figure at Betway Power, Enabu is firmly one of the best two/three basketball players in this country and on the path to becoming a true great of the game. Enabu is not a contributor to City Oilers’ dominance of local and regional basketball, he is the leader. The guard helped Oilers win a second FIBA Africa Zone V Club Championship at home, 12 months after he was named MVP for winning the sane title in Tanzania. To that, Enabu played a key role in securing a fifth trip to the final and fifth place at the FIBA Africa Club Champions Cup. At the later event, Enabu, now preferred as a point guard and not shooting guard, exercised calm that the Ugandan back court has often lacked. He is arguably the best guard in this region and next FIBA Africa World Cup qualifiers could confirm that as he is one of those who took Uganda past the first stage. Mark Namanya

19. PIUS OGENA

Ogena started the year as a loose forward only to end up as Rugby Cranes’ undisputed inside centre. A problematic area for Uganda’s 15s team in the recent past, two outside centres (Oscar Kalyango and Michael Wokorach) had previously been used to — for all intents and purposes — paper over cracks. Then Ogena happened in 2017. The archetypal inside centre in Uganda has always been a battering ram. Ogena was this and more. He was the very embodiment of a crash ball merchant when Uganda shared the spoils with Kenya in a Gold Cup opener at the RFUEA Ground. The sheer number of tackles he put in was mind-boggling! Modern day rugby sides that don’t field a second outside half usually pound the contact area between No.10 and 12. Ogena selflessly did this during the Gold Cup, creating spaces that the two Wokoraches (Philip and Michael) and Ivan Magomu thrived in. To cap it all up, Ogena proved to be of great utility to the Uganda Sevens team that landed the Rugby Afrique Sevens. Robert Madoi

18. GEOFFREY KAKETO

Geoffrey Kaketo stunned Tunisia’s 2016 Olympian and Africa’s number one bantamweight Bilel Mhamdi in the semi-finals to join Muzamir Kakande in the finals. Although Kaketo lost the continental final to Mauritian Jean Vadamootoo, the silver he bagged for his endeavours was no mean achievement for a boxer who had been eliminated in the national trials only to bounce back when national champion Isaac Masembe was ruled out because he was underage. Abdulnasser Ssemugabi

17. DAVID AYITI

David Ayiti was another surprise. Also making his continental debut, Ayiti surprised even himself by lasting all rounds until he was knocked out by Cameroonian Arsene Fokou Fosso in the final. Another silver medal engraved Coach Muhammad Hassan’s name among the echelons of our sporting heroes. Abdulnasser Ssemugabi

16. EMILLY LEKURU

Lekuru first held a rugby ball aged 14, but her quick development has paid for lost time. It’s no wonder that Lady Cranes coach Helen Buteme insisted on taking her to Tunisia for the Rugby Afrique 7s in September. This despite being only 17 (tournament rules stipulate that players below 18 can only play after seeking permission from their parents). In Tunisia, she was one of the five uncapped players, but the Walukuba Titans player was unfazed by the big stage. She top scored for Uganda (three tries and one conversion). Most of her tries resulted from her mazy runs and big hand-offs that left opponents on the ground. Raul Kanyike

15. IVAN MAGOMU

Two tries best capture the inexhaustible talents Magomu showcased as the playmaker of Uganda’s 15s team. The first came during the Gold Cup opening match against Kenya in Nairobi. Magomu already had hand-egg enthusiasts eating out of his palm by the time he received an inside ball from Michael Wokorach. The fly half fended off Kenya’s replacement prop before embarking on a memorable dazzling run punctuated with line breaks. He capped it up by setting up Michael Wokorach. The second inch-perfect try came during the Gold Cup home fixture against Namibia. Uganda was down 34-17 at Legends and looked well beaten. Surely nothing would cheer the hosts up. Magomu though had other ideas when he pulled two Namibians by running across. What followed was something more spellbinding — a no-look, one-handed flick that released Philip Wokorach to go under the posts. He may have a sordid past that cannot be airbrushed, but Magomu’s ability to come up with collector’s items made him such a beauty to behold as Uganda placed third in the Gold Cup. Little wonder, Edmund Tumusiime lavished praise on him. Robert Madoi

14. LILIAN AJIO

Like with most disciplines, offensive players are often more recognized than the defensive ones.
She Cranes and Prisons goal defender Lilian Ajio however stood out in 2017. The Prisons captain was ever present as they retained their East and Central club title crown in April at Nyayo stadium in Kenya.She was also a mainstay as the She Cranes won the Africa Netball Championship hosted at Lugogo playing all five games including the 66-43 win over pre-tournament favourites Malawi in June. She edges out National Insurance Corporation (NIC)goal attacker Racheal Nanyonga who despite helping her club wrestle the domestic league from Prisons, was not as influential for the national She Cranes team this year. Elvis Senono

13. JOYCE LALAM

At just 16, Joyce Josephine Lalam is already a big achiever having won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bahamas. That was in July. Lalam won gold in javelin with a 51.89m throw (her personal best), beating Australia’s Ellie Frances (50.64m). It was Uganda’s only medal in the event. It was also Uganda’s first gold medal in a field event of an international tournament in many years. Abdulnasser Ssemugabi

12. MICHAEL WOKORACH

The buzzer had already screeched, indicating that it was now or never for the Uganda Sevens. With Zimbabwe leading, the defence of the Rugby Afrique Sevens looked improbable. Uganda was in possession of the game’s last play, but — with Michael Wokorach sandwiched by four Zimbabwean players — appeared to heading down a dark alley. Wokos, as he is known, persisted and the rest is history. Adrian Kasito got the plaudits, but it was Wokos who effectively won the cup for Uganda. He also put in a solid shift for the 15s team, scoring decent tries against Kenya and Tunisia. Robert Madoi

11. MUZAMIR KATENDE

Having been abandoned at the airport and missed the 2016 Olympic trials in the process, Muzamir Kakande returned to prove his worth (never mind that he has never won national gold). He won gold at the Africa Boxing Championship in Brazzaville, Congo, after defeating welterweight Mauritian Merven Claire in the final. Earlier, he had laid down a marker with a ferocious knockout of Younes Nemouchi when the Algerian was leading the quarterfinal bout on the scorecards. His gold medal was Uganda’s first since Jolly Katongole’s (RIP) and Sadat Tebazalwa’s in 2004. Abdulnasser Ssemugabi

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