Falcons (2000), Lady Bucks (2004) and Warriors (2009) remain the only three Ugandan sides to features in the Fiba Africa Zone V Basketball Club Championship.
Uganda’s contingent could yet double that tally today in Mombasa. In the best case scenario, an all-Uganda final is a possibility in the men’s draw.
However, neither of City Oilers, Tiger Head Power and KCCA Leopards start their semifinals as favourites.
National champions Oilers perhaps have the toughest match in Burundi’s Urunani for a semifinal spot. Not only are the latter reigning champions, they are also seeking a fourth successive appearance in the final. Power face hosts Kenya Ports Authority whereas women’s side KCCA, depleted by the absence of Peace Proscovia and Martha Soigi, have local side USIU to contend with.
A worst case scenario is when neither makes it to tomorrow’s final at KPA welfare center, Makupa Gym.
Buoyed by the arrival of center Muhayimina Namuwaya, normally a reserve, coach Timothy Odeke is quietly confident of making a maiden final. KCCA have finished third in three of the last four Zone V events.
“We will manage with the resources we have,” Odeke said. He has a tough dice to roll in limiting the damage of Sarah Achan, sister to Oilers’ Ramadan Arou. Thereafter, forward Claire Lamunnu, scorer of 24, 19 and 32 in the three pool games must get going on offence as guard Flavia Oketcho has struggled all week.
Oilers, though without coach Mandy Juruni, have a similar puzzle. Guards Ben Komakech and Jimmy Enabu are not figureheads now. The former had only five points and committed seven turnovers in the 65-69 loss to KPA which kept them second in Pool A.
But, in Kami Kabange, averaging 14 and seven rebounds, Andrew Opio, eight and eight, and the raw energy of Arou, they have weapons to hurt the sleek Burundians.