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Kampala. When the East African secondary schools games start in Gulu next month, Ssaku SSS basketball team will be hoping to leave an impression on the big stage.
The last time the Luweero giants participated in the annual East Africa Secondary school games (FEASSSA) in Mbarara in 2012, they were knocked at the semifinal stage.
Their youthful coach Francis Okello says they want to surpass that performance.
“We have qualified for the games four times but managed to participate once (due to finances). We have to do better than the 2012 semifinal finish,” Okello told Daily Monitor.
Okello’s faith lies in Uganda’s U-18 lanky star Innocent Ochen whose combination with Tanzanian U-18 prodigy Haji Mbegu should make Ssaku formidable.
“They give us the height advantage and are pivotal in rebounds. Few teams can stop the two when in attack mode,” Ochen, also the assistant coach at top league side JKL, revealed.
Ssaku SSS, won the 2009 and 2012 schools title and have greatly benefited in participating in the national developmental league. “We have lost once in the developmental league in 10 games and these are the same players we plan to take to Gulu next month,” Okello asserts.
Apart from the imposing Ocen and Mbegu, Ssaku SSS prides in having a talented cast of Daniel Mbowa, Ally Juma, Lawrence Thomas, Peter Situma, Denis Omara, Muhammad Buyondo, Garvin Maliyamungu, Fredrick Othieno, Emmanuel Bwonyo and Derrick Zziwa.
“Anything below the semifinal stage will be regarded as failure. We have pampered this team to go out and represent the country well and also bring back medals for the school,” Godfrey Kalumba, the acting team patron says.
Kibuli SSS, Buddo SS, Ssaku and Seeta High form the four-team contigent to battle the rest of East Africa under the Ugandan flag.
“We are in better position than our colleagues to win silverware because we have prepared and motivated our players best. I went and watched the Kenyan finals and realized the real threat will come from Kenyan teams.”