Countdown: 25-21 top athletes

The Nation Media Group’s stables in Uganda bring together a little under thirty sports journalists

Clockwise: Charles Uhuru, Emma Okwi, Derrick Nsibambi, STEPHEN OMONY and Samiya Ayikoru  

BY Monitor Team

IN SUMMARY

  • All sport. The countdown of 50 best Ugandan athletes in 2017 will run from today, before hitting a crescendo on New Year’s eve. Today we look at athletes occupying positions between 25 and 21.

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.

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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)

25. Samiya Ayikoru
Undoubtedly the most naturally gifted female rugger. An internet video clip that went viral showing Ayikoru tackling opponents thrice her size reinforces the fact that what she lacks in size, she more than compensates with hard tackles. Ayikoru is also gifted with quick side-steps, pace and, accurate passes. In 2017, she won the league and sevens circuit with Thunderbirds. She emerged MVP in both championships. When Lady Cranes came calling, she answered with two tries and a conversion during the Rugby Afrique 7s in Tunisia. Hers was a remarkable year.. Raul Kanyike

24. Derrick Nsibambi
Nsibambi lived in Sserunkuma’s shadow for the most of the 2016/17 season, but he did just enough to lead KCCA to titles and make it to this list. The forward scored eight goals for KCCA in the title winning season and led the charts with as many goals as the Yellow Lads won the 2017 Uganda Cup. Nsibambi was also dangerous on continent, finding the back of the net four times as KCCA made the group stage of the Caf Confederation Cup. The striker made his senior national team debut in Uganda’s 1-0 win over Cape Verde in the 2019 Afcon qualifiers. He has since twice faced Egypt, Ghana and Congo. To top it up, he was the leading scorer at the recently ended Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup with four goals. This in a year when he helped Uganda qualify for Chan 2018. Andrew Mwanguhya

23. EMMANUEL OKWI
Ten goals in 12 second round Uganda Premier League (UPL) matches for SC Villa, a winner over Egypt in the World Cup qualifiers, and his sparkling form to send Simba top of the Tanzanian league after 11 matches all made the selection of Emmanuel Okwi to this list an easy choice. Having missed Afcon finals in Gabon through injury, Okwi has steadily worked his way back and now has his forte upfront with the retirement of Geoffrey Massa. One only wonders what Okwi, whose ability has never been in question, could do, and be, if he consistently gave it his all.. Andrew Mwanguhya

22. STEPHEN OMONY
Ageless. Uganda doesn’t have the luxury of reference sportsmen who have transcended generations. In Omony, there is a a diamond in the rough who first played in the National Basketball League in late 90s. Even then, the eternal No. 12 should be finished and only filling gaps. Written off over the past few years at Falcons, Omony’s move to City Oilers wasn’t the most appetizing. He was joking a team that had won four straight league titles and had honed its own stars led by Jimmy Enabu. Once there, Omony has become a key figure for the club’s success as they defended the regional FIBA Zone V Club Championship. He was also arguably their best player in knocking out Betway Power in the semifinals for a fifth successive final appearance. City Pipers also finished fifth at the FIBA Africa Club Champions Cup in Tunisia. For the national team, Silverbacks, Omony constitutes the journey that has taken Uganda to the second stage of the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers. Sadly, for the first time in his entire career, Omony wears a strapping on one of his knees, clear sign that he is slowing. On the contrary, it could also emphasise the fact that his competitive will never wither. Ismail Dhakaba Kigongo

21. Charles Uhuru
Locks are known to ruck ’n’ roll, fashion so-called crash balls and provide brute force in the engine room. Uhuru did this and more as Uganda placed third in the Rugby Afrique Gold Cup. His try-scoring streak, which saw him cross the whitewash in consecutive Tests against Kenya, Senegal and Tunisia was impressive by any measure. He was a main-stay on the team sheet even as a growing fixture list and burnout forced Rugby Cranes’ backroom staff to do lots of rejigging. Robert Madoi.

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