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KIU Sports Desk: Henry Okoth Divorced Boxing to Find His Dream in Basketball


Isaac Akugizibwe

KIU, Main Campus – Henry Okoth’s journey to basketball is an extraordinary and epic story, one of passion, hard work, and commitment

Born on November 12, 1999, in Tororo district, Eastern Uganda, Okoth currently plays for the KIU Titans and a student of Information Technology at KIU. Frequently referred to as “Afande” by his teammates and fans, the energetic small guard did not start a basketballer. He was a committed young boxer who regularly trained in martial arts and self-defence at Bombo army barracks before basketball decided to look for him.

One day, while Okoth was seated watching a basketball match at Bombo Army secondary school, he says, a ball came rolling off the court towards him. He grabbed the ball and started bouncing it around. He found the practice interesting and gradually fell in love with the beautiful game.

 He soon developed an uncontrollable passion, that he started playing basketball on a regular basis. Combined with passion and curiosity, Okoth's natural abilities could not be concealed. By the time he got to senior two, Okoth was a regular starter for the school team, and other schools started noticing and admiring his style of play.

Inspired by his then coach Henry Malinga, who doubles as his role model, Okoth left Bombo Army while in S.2 to join Lubiri secondary school on a scholarship due to his impressive basketball skills.

He was part of the Lubiri secondary school team that won the National Post-Primary Basketball tournament in 2015. In 2016, Okoth left Lubiri secondary school for another basketball giant in Uganda, Kibuli SS, helping them to finish second at the 2016  National Basketball tournament and the Uganda Cup in the same year. 

Despite being a regular student both in class and on the basketball court, Okoth could afford some time to play for UPDF Basketball club and the Uganda national team whenever called upon. While with UPDF, Okoth was part of the team that won the National Basketball League in 2013, his debut year. He was also instrumental in their triumph in the 2014 Military games in Zanzibar. 

They also won the 2015 first division tournament as well as bronze in Uganda and Burundi Military games in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The 2019 East Africa Military games was the last tournament Okoth played as a UPDF player, helping them to win silver in Nairobi. 

In August 2019, Okoth joined his dream University, Kampala International University, to pursue a degree in Information Technology. This saw him also join his dream basketball club, KIU Titans to benefit from the University's scholarship scheme, offered to students with excellent sporting abilities. He helped the Titans finish the 2019 Uganda National Basketball League season at the quarter-final stage. 

Okoth’s other honours include winning the Zone V U-18 tournament in 2016 and featuring for the national basketball team in the 2017 World Cup ( 3 X 3). 

His dream is to become the best Basketball player in the league and win as many trophies as possible with both the club and his beloved country, Uganda.

Picture credit: KIU Titans