Afidra: Power good enough for diadem

Leader Of The Pack. Power captain Afidra (R) drives the ball during the Fuba League win against Falcons. PHOTO/ISMAIL KEZAALA
 

What you need to know:

One of the senior players that remained was Isaac Afidra, the MVP from the 2011 season, the last time Power won the league

After losing 3-1 to UCU Canons in the 2019 National Basketball League (NBL) semi-finals, Power required major surgery.

The team had taken game one but lost three in a row to bow out.

Management got the knife out and cut through the squad, senior players, especially, did not survive.

Players like Joseph Ikong, Paul Odongo, Cyrus Kiviiri, Philip Ameny and Geoffrey Soro were shown the exit as the team looked to rebuild with another set of individuals.

One of the senior players that remained was Isaac Afidra, the MVP from the 2011 season, the last time Power won the league.

He is one of the longest serving players in the league having started playing in the top flight in 1999 and started the 2022 season with a performance of eight points, 11 rebounds and four assists in 32 minutes.

On February 28, Magalo, as he is fondly referred to in basketball circles, clocked 40 years but his discipline on court and in the gym has kept him in shape and still able to compete at the high level.

“Basketball is my hobby,” Afidra told this paper when asked about what keeps him going.

Back to Power

In 2015, Afidra unceremoniously left Power after being axed by the team management back then. He would go on to join rivals Falcons but it wasn’t long before he returned to the club he has identified with for the bigger part of his adult life.

Like him, there are other players that had been booted but are now back home and ready to take the team to the next level.

Players like Soro and Francis Kasinde have returned from spells at Namuwongo Blazers and KIU Titans respectively.

Afidra is the captain and leader of the team and wants them included in the championship conversation this season.

“All sportsmen target for the biggest prize,” Afidra told Daily Monitor when asked about the objectives of the team he leads.

 The five-time league winners opened the season with a 63-62 win over Falcons and face KIU Titans at the MTN Arena, Lugogo tonight. 

Strong enough

Power might not have the embarrassment of riches in talent City Oilers and Namuwongo Blazers possess but they have players who have been around the league for a while now.

Soro, Kasinde, Dickson Asiku and Innocent Ochera all have the experience and in Bernice Ankunda, they have a tactician who knows what it means to lift a championship having won it three times. Afidra played in a much stronger Power team in 2011 but believes the current squad has what it takes to challenge any side in the top flight.

“There has been a big change in the trend of the game since 2011,” he said.

“This squad has players with sets of skills that will meet the demands of the season and goal of the team.”

Tough Titans

 KIU might have lost their opening game of the season to UCU Canons but they cannot be taken lightly. They have a predominantly young squad hungry for success and are full of running and shooting. They shot the ball well and were 12 of 34 from downtown with Henry Okoth sinking six threes from 13 attempts on the night. He got a game high 25 points.

The team were 12 of 34 from down town.

Power must be ready to keep them off the three-point line and Afidra knows it has never been easy against the Kansanga outfit.

“KIU has always been a boggy side for us since its debut in 2003, we must work hard towards having a good result.”

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