KAMPALA. Smith Okumu knew he owed his Nemostars teammates and fans a big performance and he chose the right moment to remind everyone what a talent he is.
In the Aziz Damani Volleyball League playoff semifinals against Sport-S, Nemo won inspite of their setter’s humble performance.
But nearly everything Okumu touched in Game One of the finals against Uganda Christian University (UCU) on Wednesday night turned into gold as Nemo ran way 3-0 (14-25, 21-25, 9-25) winners in a game that lasted just about one hour.
Okumu’s vision and delicate ball handling enabled captain George Aporu, Tom Paul Amou, Fahad Zungu, Winfred Masaba and Deanz Aloka constantly break through UCU’s block.
“Smith was my man of the match,” coach Andrew Okapis, purred in acknowledgement of his setter’s impact. UCU, playing in their maiden league final, came with a plan to block then break through Nemo’s shape down the middle but Aporu knew he would be the target as was the case in the semis.
“I was sure I was the main target but the word from the team was that I had perform from the word go and that’s what we tried from the beginning. Once we got the rythym, everything fell in place,” Aporu, whose side is chasing a fifth title, explained.
UCU’s block was a good idea they could not pull it off and even when they did, the cover defence did not mop up. Elias Isiagi, who hobbled off injured in the third set, tried but Johnson Rukundo seemed jittery at the start and hardly recovered.
In attack, UCU will demand more from their setter Moses Odeke who was at times self-indulgent. Jonathan Tumukunde and Samuel Engwau broke from the sides and centre respectively but could not do it with regularity.
“The players did much in training yesterday (Tuesday) and were fatigued. I also think trying to seal off the line killed us so we will try blocking our away in Game Two,” UCU coach Nason Bwesigye said.
M: UCU 0-3 Nemostars
(14-25, 21-25, 9-25)
W: Ndejje 0-3 Nkumba
(21-25, 14-25, 16-25)
Game Two on tomorrow