Your favourite sport could become a source of income

Friday March 13 2020

Daniel Dudus Monoja  is focused  on achieving

Daniel Dudus Monoja is focused on achieving his dreams both on and off the pitch. PHOTO BY EDGAR R. BATTE.  Daniel Dudus Monoja, (green T-shirt)

By Edgar R. Batte

Why basketball?
I tried playing basketball in primary school at Mugwanya Preparatory School, Kabojja, but it was boring since football was the main sport.
In Secondary School, in 2010, I had a roommate who used to play basketball and he encouraged me to go to the court with him every time. Then one day I decided to go with him, I was welcomed with open arms by the team captain. From then on, I never looked back.
What is your education background?
I studied my Primary school from Mugwanya Preparatory School Kabojja from 2002 to 2007.
I proceeded to St Lawrence Schools and Colleges Paris Palais from 2008-2011 where I completed my O-Level.
Then I studied my A level at Greenhill Academy and Hana International in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
From 2014 to 2018, I studied a Bachelors of Arts in Ethics and Human Rights at Makerere University.
What are some of the recognitions have you received?
In 2015, I won the FUBA Division One League with Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) Tomahawks and I was nominated for the Playoffs MVP.
In 2016 and 2017, I represented Makerere University Kampala (MUK) at the FISU 3*3 League in Xiamen China. In 2017 still, I won Silver at the FASU 3*3 in Nairobi. I represented Uganda at the inaugural FIBA 3*3 Africa Cup in Togo that same year. I won gold, silver and bronze at the East African Community (EAC) Military Games.
Last year, I earned my first National Team call-up during the Zone V Afrocan Preps which is perhaps my biggest recognition yet.

Why are these achievements important to you?
These recognitions have been my motivation. I hang all my medals in my room so that they can remind me that I have not accomplished even a quarter of what I want to. And this motivates me to wake up every morning and work even harder than I did the previous day.
I currently play for Nam Blazers and I pride myself in it being a new franchise that can achieve anything when we put in the hard work.
Does being a basketballer in Uganda pay?
Playing basketball is not as lucrative as such. Most people take it as a side hustle to top up on what they get in their day jobs. All in all, the financial muscle of the team you play for determines how much you earn as a player. Some teams have more resources than others.
How do you stay focused?
It is difficult to stay focused on a sports career in Africa. But it wouldn’t make sense to me if I do not fully explore my various God given talents. So I work hard and stay focused because being able to play basketball, or any other sport is a blessing.
What are your main personal values?
I have learned to be calm, humble and patient. My mother has always taught me about humility. She always tells me that if I am humble, I can listen and learn.
I came to understand through my Christian background that God rewards the patient. When you pray, you need to be patient enough to let God answer your prayers. It is the same thing as working hard, you need to be patient because the results do not come as soon as you expect them to.
What is the best career advice you were given and how has it been helpful to you?
American professional basketball player Kevin Durant once told a friend that: ‘Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard.’ This piece of advice helped me to understand that hard work is a talent in its own way and that it always pays off in the end.
What advice would you give someone interested in a sports career?
Do what you love, love what you do. I enjoy having sports as a professional career despite the various challenges we face in the Sports industry.
As a professional sportsman, one needs to be very disciplined and hardworking. I limit things that can affect my performance, and I do a lot of conditioning and resting on my off days.
Do you ever consider getting a job away from sports?
Yes I hope to get a job in my field of study. As a matter of fact, I have been sending out applications and there are a number of opportunities I am counting on.
Who is Daniel Dudus Monoja away from work?
Away from work, I am quite normal. I spend a lot of time with my friends, and I read a lot. I read a lot of novels. I like reading because it keeps my mind active. There is a lot of knowledge in books.
I enjoy reading fiction, true life, and romance and action literature.