Newbies Mbale take slender lead in pool league

Abdul Mafabi has been Mbale's most consistent player so far. PHOTO/GEORGE KATONGOLE 

What you need to know:

To the pool enthusiasts, on paper, no one is surprised as Mbale is the team to beat. Their manager Derrick Wekomba, a businessman, who runs The Oak Bar off Kumi Road in Mbale City, assembled a very strong team.

For the record, Mbale Pool Club are competing in the national league for the first time. To the uninitiated, it is a surprise that they are leading at the halfway mark with 36 points. A slender two-point lead against hyped Upper Volta is keeping the side in good stead.

To the pool enthusiasts, on paper, no one is surprised as Mbale is the team to beat.

Their manager Derrick Wekomba, a businessman, who runs The Oak Bar off Kumi Road in Mbale City, assembled a very strong team. It is so strong that deciding starters is a hectic challenge. Mbale has top seed Mansoor Bwanika and self-proclaimed sharp shooter Joseph Kasozi. That deadly duo is ably supported by homeboy Abdul Mafabi, probably their most consistent player, Arnold Semukwano and the most promising player Jonathan Ouma, commonly known as Savimbi.


Title contenders?

Kasozi is oozing with confidence holding a strong belief that the side is good for the league title on their first time of asking.

"We have the right combination of players to accomplish the task," said Kasozi on the penultimate day of the first round.

Kasozi has the joint highest break and finish (three) alongside Royal Giants pair of Andrew Kabuubi and Ibrahim Kayanja. The others are Caleb Muhirwe (Sinkers), Simon Lubuulwa (Scrap Buyers), Bob Kateregga (Wakiso City Giants) and Kenneth Odongo (Upper Volta).

The team had just finished a simple job of dismantling Akaanya 13-7. The real party was the following day where Upper Volta were waiting to check their credentials with an upper cut. Yet Mbale is made of steel. They convincingly chiselled the contest winning the top-of-the-table clash 14-6 to run away with a bonus point.

The Key to their performance is teamwork. All their 136 goals have been scored by a committee, the reason why none of their players is in the top 10 of the top scorers.

The biggest flaw in the team is the failure to rotate as their substitutes are always spectators. This brings challenges of burnout and given the fact that Bwanika and Kasozi have been up in arms with their managers raises questions about the team's title credentials.


Relegation

Two teams are obvious candidates for the league’s wooden spoon. Kireka and Kansanga, who are occupying those slots thanks to their lightweight squads are still occupying the two places but Club 408 (18 points) and Capital Night (19 pts) are still within touching distance.


Scrap Buyers top ladies

The battle for the women’s league is still on. On Sunday, Scrap Buyers leapfrogged Mukono at the summit of the log on goal difference.

The league contested by five teams has Scrap Buyers join top with five points alongside Mukono with a positive six goals, the difference.

Sinkers are third with a point adrift of the leaders while Upper Volta and Hot Pool only have a point each.


PAU Senior League standings

                                P             W            D             L              Pts

Mbale                   12           11           0              1              36

Upper Volta       12           9              0              3              34

Scrap Buyers      12           8              2              2              32

Sinkers                 12           9              0              3              32

Royal Giants       12           6              2              4              26

Akaanya               12           6              0              6              24

Kansanga             12           7              0              5              24

Wakiso City         12           4              3              5              23

Tororo Tigers     12           3              1              8              23

Capital Night      12           5              0              7              19

Club 408               12           2              3              7              18

Kireka                   12           1              1              10           13

Nakawa                                12           0              2              10           10                          


Leading scorers

1. Simon Lubuulwa (Scrap Buyers) - 35

2. Vincent Ssekibuule (Wakiso City Giants) - 32

3. Ibrahim Kayanja (Royal Giants) - 30

T4. Alfred Gumikiriza (Akaanya) - 29

T4. Humphrey Nsubuga (Scrap Buyers) - 29

T4. Kenneth Odongo (Upper Volta) - 29

T7. Yuda Ssembuusi (Upper Volta) - 28

T7. Caleb Muhirwe (Sinkers) – 28

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