By Isaac Akugizibwe
KIU, Main Campus – KIU Titans star Ariel Okall believes the team has become a force to be reckoned with and can dethrone champions City Oil from the royal seat of Ugandan basketball.
The 31-year-old Kenyan international believes the ambition shown by the management of the Kansanga-based giants in their recruitment drive before the start of the season is testament to their commitment to make Titans champions for the first time in their history.
The 2017 finalists signed Somalian Faisal Aden, Congolese Dennis Balungu, and himself in the off-season and the trio are already bearing fruits as they have played a huge role in Titans’ run of 5 wins out of their first 6 games of the season to rise to second place, unsurprisingly behind their nemesis City Oil, who defeated them in the 2017 final.
"Well the best team in the league is still City Oilers but we know that winning a championship requires a lot more to be done. It takes extra dedication of all the 15 players, the technical bench, and management. Moving forward, we have the right ingredients to win. We just need to know when and how to use them," Okall says.
And Okall is surely playing his part so far.
A media frenzy surrounded his surprise transfer, which was viewed as a major coup on Titans’ behalf and it was no surprise that coach Brian Wathum gave him his debut against Namuwongo Blazers despite the fact that he had had no training session with his teammates yet.
He however showed glimpses of what he is capable of in the subsequent match before showing up with an inspiring display in the league game against the UCU Canons, scoring 18 points and getting 18 rebounds.
He credits coach Wathum for the upturn in his form, referring to him as a longtime friend.
"The best thing I have is that coach Brian is my long-time friend," Okall admits.
He calls upon the fans of KIU Titans to stay calm and watch the best as it unfolds from him and his in-form teammates especially Faisal Aden.
Despite his indispensable performance in the last four matches, Okall still believes Faisal Aden's best basketball is yet to unfold.
"Aden is a championship-caliber player and we are happy to have him in the team. We are yet to see Aden's best basketball. I still believe his best basketball is ahead of him in the playoffs,"
"The bar we have set ourselves is so high that we cannot afford to slump," says the confident power forward.
Photo: KIU Titans