The final game this season, between Namuwongo Blazers and the City Oilers will be played tonight (9pm) at the MTN Indoor Arena, Lugogo on Friday
Nam Blazers who won their last two game series to level the ground series 3-3 to push the defending City Oilers to game 7.
Game 7 will be the decider/final game for the playoff final of the 2021/22 National Basketball League. The trophy has been brought forward on two final games with hope that the City Oil will grab a win, something that didn’t come to pass.
City Oil are seven-time Champions starting from the year 2013 when they won their first ever title against Falcons going on to conquer the Power Basketball Club on four occasions 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 lastly UCU Canons in 2015 and 2019
The situation in 2019 Play-off final against UCU Canons was no different from what we have on our hands because it was also 3-3 at this stage before the Oilers edged it 4-3 in game 7.
Talking to different people in the Arena on Sunday, the feel around the place is different and many affirm that they can put their money on the new boys on the block, Namuwongo Blazers.
But this time round, touchline sports would like to look like what Namuwongo Blazers have done different from the previous teams that have been at this stage against the Oilers since 2013.
But let’s note that before the final series(in regular season), Namuwongo Blazers won all their two games against the Oilers
What have Namuwongo Blazers done different from the other teams that have been in the Play-off final since 2013?
OFF THE PITCH .
Mobilization of fans.
As known by many, Ugandan basketball fans just love fresh faces and rooting for the underdog. City Oilers have enjoyed this support from neutrals in the past two years but their enormous success has somehow turned into a cause for concern given the united effort of rival teams’ fans to cheer their opponents.
It has happened before as UCU Canons levelled in 2015 FUBA League play-off finals to 2-2 against City Oilers, the fans went bonkers at the YMCA, storming the court upon the final whistle in excitement. This year, the same happened with the Namuwongo Blazers when they completed their comeback against the same team.
But the difference is that this Namuwongo Blazers fan base have taken the league by storm being louder than anything you have ever heard of in the MTN Lugogo Indoor Arena. This has pushed the team to win games with songs like “Lets Go Blazers… Lets Go Blazers Lets Go” and slogan ” We are removing a dictator” they have also helped demoralize the opponents at some point of the game during free throws with comments like ” She can’t shot”
They are passionate and aggressive have also taken the same energy to social media, something that has worked in favour of both the Namuwongo team and the Federation of Uganda Basketball Association at large with the promotion of the game in the country, getting more sponsors on board and generating revenue.
— Batanudde John (@BatanuddeJohn) October 7, 2022
But above all, they are expected to fill the arena in what promises to be a historical day for their team.
ON THE PITCH .
Despite many fans coming out to say that Head coach Stephen Nyeko and Namuwongo Blazers have no winning structure on the pitch, it has been witnessed by many in the later stages of the final series that they have a unique quality of speedy transitioning in their attacks something that usually gets their opponents aware but with nothing to do.
Their transition usually starts at the back with players like Collin Kasujja one player who always throws his body on the line for the team. Away from Kasujja there are other key players on the team.
KEY PLAYERS .
The Blazers have made two seasons in National Basketball League having been promoted in 2019 alongside UPDF Tomahawk, a season that wasn’t completed due to COVID-19. This year is their first full season in top flight.
Paul Odong. 8
Odong aka ‘Macgyver’ who signed for the side in 2019,the Nam Blazers’ starting small forward who once played as a shooting guard at Bushcourt in 2010 and Power Basketball Club in 2013 where he was focal during the three seasons in which Power reach the finals, especially on the offensive end.
He has grown in experience over the years and now one of the best shooters in this Nam Blazers team, something that can boost the team’s points on the day.
Chris Omanye. 9
One of the other players that have grown in character and experience since they joined Namuwongo Blazers in 2019. In the midst of the final, he faced an injury scare luckily enough it was no issue.
He has created magical performances in this side with his exceptional dribbles past the opponents, putting up a number of points per game.
David Dikong Deng. 24
The South Sudanese Ugandan born player David ‘Dikong’ Deng who holds vast experience in the NBL having played for UCU before. In the playoff finals final he has created a number of wonderful moments in the series with his trademark Dunk.
He has played the Namuwongo Blazers team in the series to put up double doubles to reach this point. The team will look to him to push them to their first ever Championship.
Areil Okal 20
Well known among the fans as the doctor, his speciality is the long throws to the basket which are labeled as three pointers raising double points in some of the game series.
— Namuwongo Blazers (@Namblazers) October 11, 2022
Amisi alias Carmelo, who has been expectional throughout regular season, won the hearts of the fans with his sailing celebration but hasn’t fully turned up in the final series. He his expected to bring his A game in order to help the team win the Championship.
We look forward to an entertaining final game of the season with lots of experienced players on the other side of the Oilers. Players like Ben Komakech, Tony Drileba, James Okello, Ivan Rumanyika, Francis Azoliba among others.