Cynthia Irakunda (Red). URN photo
Coach Rogers Sserunyigo has gathered enormous experience with coaching Women teams.
He started off with MUK Sparks in 2003 and has coached Magic Stormers, KCCA Leopards and UMU Ravens among others.
Currently, Sserunyigo is the KIU Rangers and U16 Gazelles National team coach.
“You cannot coach girls if you are impatient,” Sserunyigo opens up to The-SportsNation.
“You can’t coach girls if you decide to date them, coaching girls is beyond just playing the game but rather interacting on a family basis and friendship.”
He adds that a coach has to devote a lot of time towards their (girls) learning because most obtain skills through their coach’s training sessions as opposed to boys who do a lot of pickups.
In an exclusive interview with The-SportsNation, Sserunyigo named the five best players he has ever coached.
A Look At Sserunyigo’s Best Five:
Cynthia Irankunda (KCCA Leopards): Most skilled player I have coached with handles only comparable to International pro-basketballers. Very high IQ on the ball, can shoot a mid range shot and when left open for the three, she can also hit it. She threatens defences and keeps them on their heels. ‘A must have player on any all star ladies team’. One other option for this player would be Sylvia Nakazibwe aka Balotelli/ Man-U.
Akullo Rebecca (Former Makerere Sparks and KCCA Leopards) – She has uncountable accolades in Ugandan basketball. Most famously known as ‘ka-left’ or Number 9 because of her excellently gifted left hand use. I can compare her to the Maradona of basketball in Uganda. She’s done it all. She scored in any game no matter the day, weather or time of the game. She had to leave with so many points. I lose track of even her averages. Tell her to play defense and it will be done, sliding low on the floor and making her opponents sweat for their offense if not lose the ball. I definitely enjoyed coaching her but at most being a workout partner whilst we were at the University.
Amoding Maureen (KCCA Leopards): Who doesn’t know her 3 point shot! Her skills on the ball are excellent and can easily finish on the 2 point. You don’t need a Coach to morale boost the players on the floor when Momo is playing. She’s the Coach and leader on court. She also loves the game and at some point I felt like her life was nothing without basketball. She could sacrifice anything just to compete and outshine her opponents. On any day, Chemutai Joy would be my replacement for Momo. She may not hit the 3 but will hit the 2’s in that you would lose track of how many she scored in a game. Average her at 18 points per game.
Akello Florence (Former Makerere Sparks Team) – Ugandan basketball had never seen a player so versatile quick and loved attacking the basket. She was a scoring machine and yet you could count on her to give you 100% defense. She helped Sparks win their debutant championships and dominated in all East Africa University games. She was a leader, very disciplined player and always put in extra work to perfect her craft mainly on the shot. I’ve not seen any lady player up to date have a hustle like her in all aspects of the game. Most have come close but not that close.
Hamala Miriam – (Angels and former National Team Player, Makerere Sparks and KCCA Leopards) – There’s never been a post player in Ugandan basketball like her (No argument on this). Swift and quick on the post with all post moves at her finger tips. She’s only comparable to Henry Malinga in his best days of the sport. She could give you quick points off the post with so much patience that opponents marking her would get so bored. Lots of assists in the mix too coupled with almost all boards. One good invisible player that can easily inherit her shoes is Sharon Kirabo (UMU Ravens).
However, Hope Akello from JKL Lady Dolphins seems to master the post play almost as quick as Hamala.
Honourable Mentions – Maria Najjuma U16 National Team Gazelles, Olivia Mulwana, Agatha Balidawa, Siima Monica etc