Nabbumba motivated to work hard after Real Star recognition

Kukundakwe, Nabbumba and Ekone pose with their trophies at Route 256. PHOTO/ GEORGE KATONGOLE 

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Averaging double digits and eliminating Nabisunsa in the quarters, Ekone was the obvious choice ahead of Ninette Uwineza (KIU Rangers) and Isaiah Mabeny Ater (KIU Titans), the other nominees.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with a galaxy of stars is what She Corporates and She Cranes midfielder Phiona Nabbumba dreams of.

Since she was a child playing with boys in Entebbe at Fimbo academy, Nabbumba realised she could reach her dreams playing football.

The 22-year-old honed her career through countless hours of training before earning what she calls a lucrative deal with Makerere University Business School (MUBS) franchise She Corporates.

"This is the first time I am winning this wonderful award," Nabbumba, dressed in skinny jeans and a matching jumper, said at Route 256 Restaurant in Lugogo while accepting the ForteBet-sponsored monthly Real Stars award as the best footballer during the month of August.

It did not come on a silver platter though as she had to convince selectors that her performance during the zonal Caf Champions League qualifiers in Tanzania were more superior than Travis Mutyaba's wonder strike at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam that gave Uganda a head start in the first round of the Chan qualifiers.

"It's wonderful that I am winning on the first time of being nominated. With all due respect I and my teammates did our best," said the midfielder, who scored six goals and made five assists as She Corporates lost the final place to Tanzania's Simba in a thrilling finale.

"It motivates me to work even harder. I now think of playing in bigger leagues because I have fulfilled my dreams of playing at every stage in Uganda," she said.

The versatile player even played in defence during Uganda's attempt at the women's Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Morocco.


Kukundakwe eyes podium

There were plaudits for sensational para swimmer at the awards Husina Kukundakwe.

Dressed to kill in a dark business suit, Kukundakwe was brief in her acceptance speech.

"Now I want podium places," she said after the usual pleasantries.

Kukundakwe, 15, won six medals at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Konya, Turkey, that included two gold, three silver and a bronze.

It was a dream for the teenager, who is only Uganda's second swimmer at the Paralympics after taking part in the 2020 Tokyo Games last year.

Her focus now is on winning a medal at the Paralympics or the World Swimming Championships.

"I now want to use this platform to inspire other children with disabilities to join sports, especially swimming," Kukundakwe said on the sidelines of the awards following a tough childhood before she became a swimming sensation.


Grateful Ekone

JKL Dolphins point-guard Brenda Ekone, who has lost in five previous nominations finally came top in a season where she has been a headline performer for her team which finished top in the regular season.

Averaging double digits and eliminating Nabisunsa in the quarters, Ekone was the obvious choice ahead of Ninette Uwineza (KIU Rangers) and Isaiah Mabeny Ater (KIU Titans), the other nominees.

"We are even determined to win this year's trophy," Ekone said.

Other awards were offered to double Commonwealth medallist Jacob Kiplimo and racing daredevil Duncan Mubiru in absentia.

The monthly awards are sponsored by ForteBet and Jude Colour Solutions but representatives from Cairo Bank attended the ceremony to assess their potential.

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