JKL Lady Dolphins spotted Hope Akello during the National School Championship in Fort Portal. Then, Akello was a student at St Mary’s Kitende. She joined the Dolphins, and like they say, the rest is history.
She has established herself as the best player in the National Basketball League, a feat unrivalled.
In the beginning….
Hope Akello, a last born Itesot of Moses Angura and Ruth Mirembe, was born on September 29, 1998 in Tororo.
“My mum always talks about how very stubborn I was,” Akello reflects on her childhood memories.
She attended her Primary school level at Victors Junior christian school and Seeta Parents.
She later joined Trinity College Nabbingo where her love for Basketball started from while in her Senior two (S.2) in 2012.
“I liked sports and basically inter-houses,” Akello explains. “Most people assume you know all sports, so a new sport (basketball) was introduced and they looked for people who had an idea and those who played netball and I was among.”
Nabbingo, was then coached by renown Samuel Bahwaya who recognized her quick learning and fun.
Later on, she was snatched by powerhouse St Mary’s Kitende who enticed her with a scholarship, and she stayed there from Senior three to six.
Akello says that during Inter houses at Kitende or even when she was still at Nabbingo, her team would either be first or second.
With Kitende, they swept everything that came their way, forming a strong team that had the likes of Brenda Ekone, Gimono Hope, Abbey Priscilla, Awori Leticia, Basemera Rose, Akello Vicky, Nankumbi Maureen, Evelyn Nakiyinji and Nakitende Brenda – All who have since played in the National Basketball League.
With Kitende, she won the Nationals from 2014 until she left in 2016 and was part of the team that won the 2015 East African games in Rwanda
After Form six, she joined Ndejje University, still on scholarship, where she is currently in her final year doing a Bachelors in Business Administration.
Joining JKL Lady Dolphins – The Meteoric Rise
During her days at Kitende, Akello was playing for Gladiators Basketball team before she was identified by JKL during the Nationals in Fort Portal.
The JKL team, led by Fredricks Freedom Owora, talked to the nervous player who had to convince her parents about the move.
“I talked to my parents about it at first my dad didn’t agree. Well it wasn’t an easy one to convince him but now he is proud of me,” Akello remembers.
“Freedom and coaches told me it would would be a good opportunity for me to develop my game.
“In the was nervous because they had many good and experienced players.”
On her first day at training, Akello says that the players were “Super hard” and “had size” like Purity Adhiambo and Salam Akinyi but “I was learning.”
Zama (Jamila Nansikombi) and Hope Gimono were the familiar faces she knew, having studied with them but “I later got along with the rest.”
She says that there was stiff competition for places and she had to train extra and get mentoring from different people and coaches to fit in.
From 2017 when she joined the Dolphins – in such a small period of time – has helped the club win two league titles including a strong performance that saw her named 2019 MVP and top rebounder!
Akello was part of the JKL Dolphins side that won the FIBA Zone Five Club Championship in Dar Es Salaam in October last year where they dispatched Kenyan Giants Equity and KPA in semi and final respectively.
She has represented the National side, including the 3X3 Gazelles team.