Thursday Fixtures (Lugogo)
- Ndejje vs. Sport-S – 6:00pm
- Nemostars vs. Sport-S – 8:00pm
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Finally, the wait is over. Ugandans will enjoy some league volleyball starting Thursday night when the 2017 National League season volleys off at Lugogo Indoor Stadium.
Nemostars, who won the last league title in 2015, will get the season started in a mouthwatering duel with Sport-S.
Nemostars captain George Aporu would rather forget the previous year and concentrate on winning the title in the coming season.
“Whatever happened last year was unfortunate and hopefully it won’t happen again,” Aporu told Kawowo Sports ahead of the league opener.
The Nemostars team is not different from the one that won the title in 2015 with Aporu, Smith Okumu, Tom Amau and Louis Mubangizi all still at the club and gearing for more silverware.
It is the same case with Nsambya outfit Sport-S who will rely on the experience of setter Warren Muhangi, captain Dickens Otim and outside hitman Ivan Ongom.
“Nothing has changed and we have been working hard so we are ready for the season,” Sport-S coach Benon Mugisha revealed ahead of the opening night.
In the ladies’ category, defending champions Ndejje Elites, fresh from the Africa Clubs championship, will face off with rivals Sport-S in the first game of the Serie A season.
Due to what most clubs termed as Uganda Volleyball Federation failure to treat Kampala Amateur Volleyball Club (KAVC) like any other team – without doing them any favours, the league season came to a halt in 2016 and the year ended with no champion.
The bone of contention was one player, Daudi Okello, who had moved from KAVC to Rwandan side University of Kibungo (UNIK) before making a U-turn back to KAVC, something the rest of the teams could not take in.
Then president Sadik Nasiwu, affiliated to KAVC, indefinitely suspended the league insisting that Okello was eligible to play for KAVC. He revealed that Okello had been cleared by Confederation of African Volleyball (CAVB) to play for a team of his choice and that Uganda Volleyball Federation had no mandate to stand in the player’s way.
Uganda, according to Nasiwu, risked a suspension from the continental body had they stopped Okello from joining a team of his choice.
The standstill on the men’s division spread to the ladies’ category with teams, mostly those with both men and women’s teams, boycotting games.
Only four ladies’ teams were actively playing by the end of the season. Only Espoir, KAVC, Nkumba University and eventual champions Ndejje Elites ‘boycotted the boycott’ and played the season to the end.
Because the turmoil was only in the top division, the other divisions went on as planned and Prisons managed to win the Serie B title.
Alongside runners up Airforce, the two sides are promoted to the league albeit UVF has no luxury of relegating two teams from the first division. Consequently, Serie B has been expanded to accommodate 14 teams including the two promoted sides.