Mandy Juruni Credit: John Batanudde

The 2021 National Basketball League season will be quite like no other. It will be a single leg regular season with shorter playoff series of best-of-three and best-of-five.

With everything squeezed within four months, there will be little time for coaches to build team chemistry, especially for sides with a number of new players.

Among the teams that have to make quick adjustments are defending champions City Oilers who, for the first time since their debut season in the top-flight, have more than two new players.

All the new additions – Joseph Ikong, Ceasar Kizito, Ruai Gatyang, Mike Makiadi, John Dombo, and Emmanuel Makuei – were given a run on Monday during a friendly game with KIU Titans that Oiers lost 73-54.

“We started slow and turned the ball over a lot,” City Oilers coach Mandy Juruni said in the aftermath of the game.

“We have quite a number of new players and it will take time for them to get into how we play. This game has shown how much work has to be done but this is an unusual season, so there’s a short time to do that.”

Ruai Gatyang (9) contests Oscar Muge’s shot during the friendly Credit: Don Mugabi

Juruni says they could considering increasing the training load to get players ready in the shortest time possible or the rotation could be limited with old players logging heavy minutes.

“We train six hours a week and that’s not enough given how short the season is. There’s no second round where you could say by playoff time everyone is ready.

“We could consider increasing the training time in order to have all players ready otherwise some players will play a lot of minutes.”

The City Oilers will start the season against newcomers Nam Blazers on Friday, April 17 at the KIU Court in Kansanga.

Franklin Kaweru is the Editor in Chief of Kawowo Sports. He is an ardent basketball enthusiast.

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