Athletes of the year: No. 35-31
What you need to know:
- George Aporu ‘threatens’ volleyball in Uganda.
- Nassuna shouldered most of the burden as talismanic captain Sandra Nabweteme had moved to USA in mid 2016.
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.
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)
All sport.The countdown of 50 best Ugandan athletes in 2017 started on Friday, December 22, before hitting a crescendo on New Year’s eve. Today we look at athletes occupying positions between 35 - 31.
35. MAXIME VAN PEE
There is no doubt he took over from veteran rider and 10-time national champion Arthur Blick Jr. Together with Fortune Ssentamu, Van Pee is the most popular rider across the board irrespective of classes. In 2017, he won his fourth straight MX1 title by a distance. He missed the final round at Garuga following surgery on his right knee. Van Pee is also Team Uganda captain having taken over the reins from Blick. He has regularly given opponents 30-second head-starts to purely entertain his huge legion of fans. He is not only a captain but also a trainer of most riders in the sport having received his own expert training from Germany. To grow the sport, he is transferring his knowledge from the best facilities in the world to young and upcoming riders in the country. Mark Namanya
34. HASIFAH NASSUNA
The year started with huge doubts that Kawempe Muslim could retain their Fufa Women Elite League title in the 2016/17 season. Nassuna shouldered most of the burden as talismanic captain Sandra Nabweteme had moved to USA in mid 2016. Nassuna, who was reigning league MVP, took on the challenge by scoring an eye-popping 26 goals as Kawempe Muslim retained the title for a third time. She has since moved on to UCU Lady Cardinals capping the year by guiding them to their first event — the Inter University Games women’s football trophy. Makhtum Muziransa
33. DOCUS AJOK
All eyes were on the defending champion Ajok as she took her stance at the start of the women’s 1500m. The Ndejje University student, however, failed to match the feat she pulled off in Gwangju two years prior to Taipei. Ajok nevertheless won silver for Team Uganda, finishing behind Serbian Amela Terzic. This was no mean feat as Terzic is a two-time European Athletics Junior champion with a respectable PB of 4.19.48. Ajok bagged another silver in the women’s 800m. Earlier, she had run the same race at the Worlds in London. Derrick Ntege
32. MUHAMMAD SHABAN
Shaban’s 2017 pales in comparison with the previous year, but the 2016 Fufa Footballer of the Year still came in with 13 of Onduparaka’s 33 league goals. This as the West Nile outfit finished fifth in their debut topflight season. The youngster has since crossed to champions KCCA where he has has been amongst the goals. Also the U-20 national team skipper, Shaban was top scorer at the recently-concluded 2017 Cosafa U-20 Championship after plundering four goals in four matches. Andrew Mwanguhya
31. GEORGE APORU
No name should be bigger than the sport itself. But George Aporu ‘threatens’ volleyball in Uganda. The game’s poster boy doesn’t settle for second best - ever. Having won the Most Valuable Player (MVP)’s accolade in 2013 and 2015 when the men’s National Volleyball League was last played, Aporu is on the verge of completing a rare hat-trick this term. When Nemostars’ season looked bleak, the 26-year-old utility player threw caution to the wind to re- ignite the Kololo-based club’s campaign. Together with Smith Okumu, they helped their side rally for a place in the playoffs. Mukono-based Uganda Christian University (UCU) Doves had them on the ropes in the semifinals but Aporu changed from outside attacker to the middle to outfox the campusers. Against Nsambya-based Sport-S in the final, Aporu and his team of veteran aces turned on the magic. Everything the Economist at Ministry of Water & Environment touched turned into gold. In the decisive Game Three at the MTN Arena Lugogo, it was a blowout 3-0 win for Nemostars - thanks primarily to the Aporu’s all-round excellence. With him, it is always one-way traffic! Innocent Ndawula