Kyobe, Lutwama: Two brothers with their stars shining brightly
Posted Saturday, November 2 2013 at 02:00
A s boys, Arthur Kyobe and Julius Lutwama were budding cricketers. Like anyone nurturing a dream they kept promising one another to do their best, and soon it became a competition.
Kyobe remained a cricketer and Lutwama branched into basketball. The competition remained, on who would shine more in their chosen sports disciplines.
The competition has been a fruitful one not just for these star sportsmen but for the country. Today Kyobe is a top batsman whereas Lutwama is a top basketball player and coach.
But the story of these top sports players has something to do with their mother, Teddy Mukasa, who, to their confession, is their biggest inspiration. She was a netball player, so one could comfortably say sports runs in the family.
Meeting each of these sportsmen reveals distinctive character traits.
Kyobe is bubbly, outspoken and a generally social guy while his brother is a composed, soft-spoken fellow.
Day with a star
A day with each of these sportsmen is quite revealing. My day with Kyobe kicks off at the Hotel Africana gym where he is soaked in sweat on a Monday morning, warming up on the treadmill.
He then moves on to do some cardio exercises before heading out of the gym, bathes and heads out and throws himself into the swimming pool where besides keeping in shape he visibly enjoys himself.
At 3:30pm, we head to the Lugogo Cricket Oval. Here the lead cricketer uses some of his training sessions to help pass on some skills to the younger players, and it is not another senior-to-junior session.
Kyobe likes to keep it at an approachable level, which helps his mentees relax and interact well with him. The seniority is in the proficiency, otherwise they are all of the same generation and as they go about their thing they will be soon throwing jokes.
However, Kyobe is keen and will use this interaction to impact some words of wisdom and inspiration which the youngsters take keenly.
This too runs in the family because when I travel to Nkumba University to meet Lutwama, he is busy with the girls’ basketball team.
Calling out names and giving instructions he commands a team of agile, passionate young ladies into motion. He runs along with them, fusing in well to help them speed up or jump as they shoot baskets. The energy in these two brothers drives others towards a common goal of improving their skills in the respective games.
Well, you could be brothers or sisters but not friends.
Kyobe and Lutwama are pals whose friendship blossomed from the fact that they went to the same schools and further cemented because sporting was their common language.
“We went to the same primary schools and always looked out for one another. We both played cricket but when I went into basketball, Arthur told me that he was going to outshine me. I was not going to let him outdo me,” Lutwama explains, while pulling off a smile of self-satisfaction.
This was in 2001. Like his kid brother, Lutwama was still in high school and a small boy in Senior Three (S.3) but was already playing for a big club, one of the top contenders in Jinja called Sky Jammers.
“They mentored me. In 2002, a year after I joined we won the regional championship. I was an underdog and they gave me encouragement.
“I trained with them and they gave me all reasons to work hard,” soft-spoken Lutwama recounts.
Kyobe was also chasing his dream. As a juvenile his biggest motivation was to use sports as a ticket to travel and see the world. “I saw cricket players travelling a lot, so I saw many opportunities to tour. Me and Julius love adventure,” says the 25-year-old Kyobe. But the left hand opening batsman did not look at boarding planes and smiling in the clouds, Kyobe was focused.