In his own words, City Oilers team manager Silver Rugambwa admitted: Not having Mandy Juruni is a big blow; a very big blow.
You cannot emphasise it any further ahead of their Fiba Africa Zone V Club Championship tipping off here today. Juruni failed to get leave from his job as a teacher at International School of Uganda (ISU).
“We will miss him a lot,” Rugambwa told Daily Monitor. “But the plays are good, so it the set up.” Oilers chairman Hajji Mohammed Ghedi will step in for the week-long event.
Ghedi coached the team during their rise from the lower divisions to the Airtel National Basketball League, which they miraculously won in their debut topflight season to earn this Zone V slot as the Ugandan champions.
This is a different animal. “The most important thing is focus,” admitted Ghedi. His first assignment is to replace James Okello. The small forward is banned for six months for having entered an age that doesn’t corroborate with his previous one during an U-18 tournament five years ago.
Oilers’ woes are similar to those of the two of the other three representatives at the annual regional event. KCCA Leopards are without centers Peace Proscovia and Martha Soigi while UCU Lady Canons will miss Maureen Amoding.
Soigi has personal reasons while Amoding has a presentation for her masters degree this week. Proscovia was not granted leave like Juruni. “Someone else will have to step up,” KCCA coach Timothy Odeke said.