Hope will be the keyword for league debutants Royal Giants when they open their league account against experienced Scrap Buyers at Tickles and Giggles Bar in Kisaasi. The league is expected to conclude in August.
Bereft of key players, Royal Giants will count on two on-form players Ibrahim ‘Musiraamu’ Kayanja and Mustafa Bwire to start their campaign. Royal Giants finished runners-up in the promotional league in 2019 but have to build a strong team for the league.
“We are confident in our abilities and hope we shall be able to compete,” Bwire, who has dominated money games at the home ground, said.
But his hopes are partly encrypted in the kind of opposition they face at first. Scrap Buyers will present an experienced team that includes William Mirembe, Humphrey Nsubuga, Fahad Ssewankambo, Simon 'Computer' Lubuulwa and Ronald Akampulira.
It is a strong team on paper but Kasozi is cautious especially after they fell to newcomers Wakiso City 11-9 in a friendly over the weekend.
“The key for us is to avoid being complacent. When you have good players you tend to think a win is a must. All players must put up a fight,” Lubuulwa said.
Vibes in Upper Volta
The league will surprisingly kick off without defending champions Ntinda Giants who closed shop during the coronavirus pandemic. Its key players have joined new clubs while others like former captain Alfred Gumikiriza, have taken up coaching roles. Gumikiriza, commonly known as Black Sheep, is the trainer of new side Akaanya.
But the league will not be short of action. Upper Volta, the team of choice for players from Gulu, will unleash the venomous Kenneth Odongo, who won the PAU Grand Open in Seeta-Mukono, last month.
Odongo, the best player from Gulu since Caesar Chandiga, will join a long list of players that have joined Upper Volta including Emma Ocitti, Denis Ongom, Titus Oyet and Chandiga.
He will not have to sweat for his place though despite Upper Volta's star-studded line-up that includes top seed Mansoor Bwanika, Yudah Ssembuusi, Robert Tumusiime and Gideon Bwanika.
The seven-time Gulu Open winner has been impressive and it has been just a matter of time for him to join the league. He has also been called to the national team credentials that cement his status in the pool fraternity.
“It is my first time. I know most of the players but in the league you play for the team. Taking the right calls will be key for me and the team,” said Odongo.
Other newcomers Mbale Pool Club are intent on getting the best possible start. They hired the services of sensational Joseph Kasozi, Abbey Ssemuzibu from Eden Yard, Arnold Semukwano from Ntinda Giants and new boy William Yiga, who was unattached.
POOL LEAGUE FIXTURES
Royal Giants vs Scrap Buyers, Kiwatule
Mbale vs Capital Night, Oak Bar
Hot Pool vs Kireka, Kiwatule
Kansanga vs Tororo Tigers, Kansanga
Sinkers vs Nakawa, Wandegeya
Upper Volta vs Akaanya, Kasubi
Club 408 vs Wakiso City, Ntinda