KAMPALA. Back in 2015, City Oilers believed they were seconds away from winning the Fiba Africa Zone V Club Championship before falling to Egyptian side Gezira in the final. The Ugandan champions lost 75-73 as the North Africans clinched the only berth to the Fiba Afrobasket later that year.
The defeat left a sour taste in City Oilers’ mouths as guard Jimmy Enabu appeared to have been fouled as he went for a layup with the two teams level.
A pair of Amr Gendy free-throws delivered victory. Oilers’ officials and players, usually calm, had to be restrained before the trophy was handed out to Gezira at the Amahoro Stadium Court in Kigali.
Two years later, City Oilers thought they would get their revenge in Kampala as the club host the week-long zonal event starting today at the Lugogo Arena.
The event is returning to the country for the first time since 2012. Instead, they will have to wait longer after Al Ahly, the reigning African champions, opted against taking part in the competition. “We got confirmation on Thursday. To be honest we wanted them to be here. To play them in front of our fans because we have also prepared very well for the event,” stated Muhammad Santur one of the City Oilers directors. The reigning Zone V champions, who won their maiden title last season, recruited the services A’ Darius Pegues, a naturalised Ugandan who featured for the Silverbacks last month.
Also on their roster is guard Robinson Odoch, who jetted into the country on Thursday, as well as veteran forward Stanley Ocitti who was expected yesterday.
They will be strong favourites to retain their title with competition expected to come from Rwandan side Patriots who boast of Kami Kabange, who left the Oilers this year after four successful years.
Domestically Betway Power, having added centre Ivan Lumanyika, will expect to compete as well as KPA. Power and Oilers faced off in a dress rehearsal in the league on Friday night.
Also, KCCA Leopards and UCU Lady Canons, who faced off in the league on Friday, will hope for better fortunes in the women’s category after losing out to Kenya Ports Authority last year.
The draws and fixtures for the tournament were expected to be conducted late yesterday following a technical meeting.
Event. Zone V Club Championship
When: October 1-7 Where: Lugogo MTN Arena
Prize: Winners qualify for Africa Basketball Champions Cup in Morocco, December 2017
Friday Result - NBL: Betway Power 75-70 City Oilers
FOUR UGANDAN TEAMS
Men: City Oilers , Betway Power
Women: UCU Lady Canons, KCCA Leopards