Nemostars, Ndejje setting the pace

Pumped up. Ndejje Elites’ pair of Peace Busingye (L) and Belinda Jepkirui celebrate a point during their clash with KCCA. PHOTO/EMANZI NDYAMUHAKI 

What you need to know:

Nemostars were the biggest winners of the lot, finishing top of the pile with a 15-1 record and 43 points. This comes after the club failed to make the playoffs last year.

The end of the National Volleyball League always comes with winners and losers. Whereas the top four sides in both the men’s and women’s divisions go on to stretch their season in the playoffs, there are teams on the wrong end of the table that must face the knife.

With the regular season coming to an end last Sunday, it is now known who belongs where.

Nemostars were the biggest winners of the lot, finishing top of the pile with a 15-1 record and 43 points. This comes after the club failed to make the playoffs last year.

The team’s only loss of the season came in the first round, a 3-0 pummelling by defending champions Sport-S on a day setter Smith Okumu arrived late and missed the clash.

Tom Amou’s charges, however, got their revenge in the second round, defeating Sport-S 3-2 in a breathtaking clash played in Nsambya.

But Nemostars found themselves behind Sport-S on the last day of the regular season, following the latter’s 3-0 win over Elyon to move top of the log, until the former beat KAVC by the same scoreline to return to the summit.

In the end, both Nemostars and Sport-S were tied on 43 points but the former held a better set ratio.

Nemostars vs. KAVC

The clash between KAVC and Nemostars might have ended in straight sets for the six-time champions but it will not be the last time the two sides meet this season.

KAVC’s situation last Sunday was complicated. Victory for the five-time champions would have meant that Nemostars finish second to pit KAVC against Sport-S in the semis.

With the defeat, KAVC will now face Nemostars in the best-of-three series. Going by Nemostars’ 2-0 sweep of the games played between the two sides, KAVC will wear the underdog tag going into the series.

Since losing Allan Ejiet to Rwanda’s Gisagara Volleyball Club, Memory Dube’s charges have struggled to impress, with Geoffrey Onapa and Innocent Ayo offence insufficient when the stakes are high.

Against a Nemostars side that has impressed all season, it will be a mountain to climb for KAVC. George Aporu, Smith Okumu, Ivan Ongom, Bernard Malinga and Esau Ecil have led the charge for the Kololo based outfit.

Sport-S vs. UCU Doves

By finishing second on the log, Sport-S set up a clash with third-placed UCU Doves, a team they defeated 2-1 in last year’s finals to win their first league title in 14 years.

The two sides split the regular season games, with Sport-S taking the first round clash, before UCU handed the Nsambya based outfit their first loss of the season in a 3-2 classic.

Elias Isiagi’s charges lost the services of Gideon Angiro, who joined Rwanda’s REG but have relied on players like Duke Philip Kyomukama, Hussein Adome and Makuei Bol to stay competitive.

Sport-S will go into the series as favourites but with caution, having already fallen to the university side this year.

The void left by Thon Maker might not have been filled but Sport-S have the human resource to go up against any side in the division. Middle blockers Samuel Engwau and Emmanuel Okia have been solid all season and have the experienced Dickens Otim as back up.

The experienced Malic Damulira has in recent games found a place in Benon Mugisha’s lineup as the team’s best receiver. He complements Allan Alinda, Emmanuel Muruli and Johnson Rukundo, who had been largely absent this season due to work commitments.

Setters Marino Oboke and Moses Odeke have good chemistry with opposite Jonathan Tumukunde and their quality further emphasizes the team’s depth and why they are favourites to retain the title.

Ndejje mean business

Having missed out on the finals party last season, Ndejje Elites responded by brushing aside every side this campaign to finish with a 18-0 record.

Their 3-2 win over defending champions KCCA highlighted the team’s experience and ability to get out of tough situations and reign supreme.

Players like Belindah Jepkirui, Peace Busingye, Moreen Mwamula, Faith Magole and setter Phionah Naziite have the experience needed to win the league and will pause tough questions against last year’s losing finalists Sport-S.

Sport-S’ inexperience has often come between them and success and it remains to be seen if the trip to their first-ever finals last season was a step closer to bigger things.

KCCA, meanwhile, lost three games in the regular season, one of which was to semifinal opponents KCB-Nkumba. The series will be far from straight forward and Shilla Omuriwe’s charges must dig deep.

The experienced Habiba Namala, Grace Akiror and Nancy Chebet lead the charge for Nkumba. The team also has the fierce attack of Hadija Otin, who has been a handful for every opponent.

Outside Joan Tushemereirwe, KCCA have often lacked the bite in attack, with Ketty Aluka’s time on the floor. Margaret Namyalo and Shamim Nalukabwe, the other options, have done well defensively but lack the brutal aspect required in attack.

The team has played most of the season without Eunice Amuron, who got injured during the National Club Championship semifinals and is only returning to action. Her fitness levels will be something of interest for the Kasasiro Girls.

No good enough

The biggest losers of the season were OBB. The team was disqualified from the top division after forfeiting games, leaving the men’s division with just nine teams.

Gulu Volleyball Club is the team that has been relegated back to Serie B after just one season in the top flight. The Gulu-based outfit lost all 16 games to finish the season with just one point.

In the women’s division, Espoir and Kampala University will play next season in Serie B after ending the campaign at the wrong end of the table.

Espoir lost all 18 games while KU had a 3-15 record.

National Volleyball League

Semifinal fixtures


Nemostars vs. KAVC

Sport-S vs. UCU Doves


Ndejje vs. Sport-S

KCCA vs. KCB-Nkumba



Gulu Volleyball Club


Kampala University