Oilers’ secret weapon

Sunday March 15 2020

Overwhelming force. James Okello of Uganda in

Overwhelming force. James Okello of Uganda in action against Nigerian during a recent Fiba 3X3 basketball Africa Cup game at Lugogo. PHOTO BY ISMAIL KEZAALA 

By ABDUL-NASSER SSEMUGABI

James Okello, who was voted the Fuba Most Valuable Player of the Play-offs season, attributes City Oilers’ record success to a strong mentality.
In January, Okello scored 11 points and 17 rebounds in the decisive game seven as Oilers beat UCU Canons 72-57 to win the National Basketball League a record seventh consecutive time. This made them the most successful team, replacing Falcons who won six titles.

But Okello admits the season was harder than any other before.
“Last season was terrible for us, many of our star players were injured, but we managed to retain the trophy for a record seventh time. It was due to our strong mentality that we managed to beat a younger, more athletic team,” Okello told the press during the first draw of City Oil’s Dubai Desert Challenge.

Okello averaged 17 points in the playoffs in which he was barely rested because of a thin front court. It is such performance that convinced the basketball fraternity to give Okello the playoffs MVP gong, though Okello admitted it was a tight contest against teammates like Landry Ndikumana, who averaged 17.8 points in seven games.
Okello attributed their winning mentality to passionate Oilers director Hajji Mohammed Santur. “Hajji [Santur] always urges us to be strong-minded in all situations. It’s a strong part of our success story.”

assemugabi@ug.nationmedia.com