Ageno’s journey back to the top

Ageno is on the road back. PHOTO/ISMAIL KEZAALA 

What you need to know:

For the power forward, 2023 started with a call up to the national team preparing for the Fiba Zone V Afrobasket Qualifiers.

Between 2019 and 2023, Sarah Ageno has lost a National Basketball League final series with the UCU Lady Canons, played for Ubumwe (now REG) in Rwanda, sat out due to injury and featured in the Women’s Fuba Division One where, with her side JT Lady Jaguars, they lifted the championship and gained promotion.

For the power forward, 2023 started with a call up to the national team preparing for the Fiba Zone V Afrobasket Qualifiers.

She is among the 15 players who have completed two weeks of non-residential training and will be expected to make the cut when the final 12 for next month’s qualifiers are named.

Ageno is one of the few surviving members from the Gazelles team that played the qualifiers in 2018.

Of the 15 who have been training the last two weeks, there are just five players who were part of the team in 2018.

Ready for action

February 14 is almost here and the Afrobasket Qualifiers will be underway at the Lugogo Indoor Stadium.

This will surely be the longest the Gazelles have prepared prior to a tournament and the forward is confident everyone will be ready.

“The training is great and I believe the coaches and players are ready for action,” Ageno told Daily Monitor after Monday’s training session.

From the first session head coach Alberto Atuna held with the ladies, a high tempo game is what he preaches, mainly because there isn't a lot of size in the squad.

“Our strength this time round is speed,” the former Lady Canons player noted.

Slow recovery

Ageno’s shot at basketball outside Uganda saw her join Ubumwe in Rwanda in 2020.

That was after completing her Degree in Child Development and Children Ministry at Uganda Christian University.

Her stay in Kigali was, however, cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic and a knee injury.

“My decision to play in Rwanda was about trying out something else out of my country.

“The experience, however, wasn't really good because I did not finish the season due to the pandemic.”

After returning to Uganda, the three-time league winner took time out of the game only to return as part of the JT Lady Jaguars side that earned promotion to the Women’s NBL and also lifted the championship.

The decision to play lower division basketball after playing NBL finals five years in a row and winning a three-peat must have raised eyebrows but Ageno knew what was best for her to get back to her best.

“I chose to play for JT Jaguars because I had taken long without playing basketball and this helped me get back in shape.

“And the fact that I was coming off an injury, I didn't want to over strain with very competitive games.”

Ageno and Hope Akello are the two listed as power forwards in the current Gazelles squad and it is expected they will both make the final cut when Atuna names his final 12 for the tournament.   

Sarah Ageno

Age: 26 years

Height: 6ft 1in

Position: Power forward

Club: JT Lady Jaguars

Gazelles debut: 2017