Oilers arguably the greatest ever

Friday October 19 2018

The fifth. KIU were the opponents this time

The fifth. KIU were the opponents this time round. They were crushed 4-0. 

By Mark Namanya

Kampala. There was an air of inevitability about the destiny of the 2018 NBL title once City Oilers held off KIU in the playoff semi-finals to reach a sixth straight final.
Oilers, who have never lost a playoff series ever since winning promotion to Div 1 at the end of the 2012 season, were always going to be runaway favourites in the final against Power.
The latter, one of the many former giants to have assumed the title of perennial bridesmaids to the Oilers juggernaut, competed admirably none more so than when they blew away Landry Ndikumana and company in Game One of the finals.
That result gave the entire league hope that maybe, just maybe, the Oilers quest for an unprecedented sixth title was going to be halted.
Such has been the dominance of the Oilers that their loss is most times the joy of the rest of the league.
But beating Oilers in one game is one thing, knocking them out of a series another. The last six years have showed that outlasting Oilers will take more than a season’s recruitment of players by anyone of Power, KIU, Warriors or JKL Dolphins.
It will have to be a meticulous job. Why?
Because Oilers have put in time, thought, discipline and organisation to win six straight titles.
The great Falcons sides of old never managed that. Ditto Power.
The mere thought of six successive championships is staggering.
The old sporting adage of ‘getting to the top is easy, staying there a lot harder, has been demystified by Mandy Juruni’s champions whose lust for success borders on gluttony, albeit the healthy kind.
When an organisation is as functional as Oilers, it is difficult to pick out outstanding individuals. That is just how well-oiled the side has been.
But special mention must go to some figures whose contributions to this basketball hegemony simply can’t be ignored.
Mohammed Santur, the City Oilers manager, has been an ever-present from the day the club was transformed from a group of pick-up, chubby, flabby characters into a ball club. Santur lives and breathes basketball and his commitment to development of Oilers is incomparable.
He has consistently combed through the country – and the region – to identify players whose strength complement the Oilers.
Thanks to his astuteness and Juruni, Oilers don’t necessarily pursue the best players. They recruit players who will better their organisation.
Mandy is indisputably the best in the business and it is to his credit that he has maintained a group of multiple champions yearning for more glory.
No club shares a basketball better than Oilers and in years to come, we shall remember this team as the finest fourth quarter team there ever was. Certainly in this generation.
In the stretch of six years, Oilers have recruited some wonderful talent but the pick of the bunch will always be Kami Kabange.
He was pivotal to their first four championships playing power forward and did a terrific job of instilling the winning mentality in the group, one that has not diminished.
Only a brave man would bet against a seven-peat.