The wait for the Basketball season is over. The 2019 Lower Division Basketball tips off on Sunday before the top flight too, gets underway in mid April. Cheers.
Following their relegation to Division one, UPDF Tomahawks are plotting for an immediate response – To bounce back to the NBL.
Much has changed since, but Lt. Baker Kyambadde, the coach of the army side, believes that his team has what it takes to earn promotion back the National Basketball League.
“We had a lot of issues last year and we have tried to address them in a number of ways,” started Coach Baker in an exclusive interview with the-SportsNation.com.
“We have had three camps before the beginning of the season and on Thursday we had an intensive work out.
“Our number one aim is to take on each game, one at a time, but the ultimate goal is to bounce back – Am sure we can do that, we have been down before, and the players are focussed.”
The Transfer Business
UPDF will be without Henry Okoth who has joined KIU Titans and Bernard Okumu who is now at JKL Dolphins – Both influential figures at the club in the last two seasons.
The club will miss the services of Daniel Ogwang (RIP) who died last year in November! Ogwang was the team’s assistant captain, and also a coach at Gems Cambridge school. He was shot dead on a Thursday night during a scuffle at a petrol station in Mbuya.
“We don’t have lots of transfers because we work with soldiers, and a few civilians.
Michel Abbey returns after official entry in army, small guard Kamoga has also been included to help on Herman Matovu.
“We suffered last season mainly because of man power. Many players had to go to Kaweweta to finish their official army entry, we had many injuries and of course there was lack of seriousness in players.”
Journey Starts Now:
UPDF will face promotional hopefuls Rez Life in a tricky game at MTN Arena in Lugogo on Sunday.
Speaking about the importance of this tie, Baker Kyambadde who also doubles as a FUBA referee, revealed:
“Winning the first game is very important for any team, Rez Life have been dominant in the division for a couple of years but we are also ready for them. I expect a hard game, though.
“We have got many championships than Rez Life, we have better quality both in players and Coach of course.”
UPDF, the team to beat
UPDF had a nightmare last season in the top flight to say the least, including conceding 100 points thrice against KIU (twice) and Pemba Warriors as they slid to a 5-17 record to go down with Charging Rhino.
But in the lower division, UPDF will be the sharks thanks to their experienced players like Felix Mukunzi and Moses Muhumiza.
It should also be noted that the team will take part in East African games, as usual due August, in Nairobi.
To earn promotion, UPDF will have to announce their presence with a strong performance against Rez Life.
“We are not the underdogs and we are not the favourites, we will take each game as it is, and am sure we have a good game on Sunday.”
“We expect everyone to come at us, so we have to thicken our skin. We expect many calls to go against us because everyone automatically thinks that we are immune to pain which is very unfair because we are human beings.”