Basketball was one of the first active sports in Nabisunsa. Nabisunsa was one of the first schools to embrace female basketball and by 1986 more schools embraced it and it became a major sport in Uganda just like that. There have been a number of coaches who have coached the Nabisunsa Basketball team ; Coach Nelson, Coach Amy , Coach Peter , Coach Sam Wajuli and so on , so many.
Coach Nelson joined us in 1997 in his form six vacation at first as a volunteer coach to help close the gap because the coach had left. “ I was teased by the girls because I was young but I knew what I had come to do.” So coach has really come with Nabisunsa from far, we owe him gratitude on he’s contribution to Nabisunsa Basketball success. I asked him if there’s a difference between the basketball then and now and he said yes but unlike the people I’ve spoken to, he’s the first to give me a positive response , he said that the recent teams are more confident , have a higher skill level than the previous teams and these teams are more competitive. The reason it may look like the previous teams have accomplished more than the recent is due to the fact that our competitors train thrice as hard as we do and some teams aren’t genuine with their players, other than that we would be the team. Speaking of team ,Coach mentioned one of the best players from all the years he has coached and I call them , the legends of basketball in NGS ; Tamale Linda , Sulus Kakaza , Birungi Mariam ,Hatma Kasiima , Zaluwanga Joyce , Tamale Mariam , Nantume Patience , Aber Linda and Karungi Patience, this would be the ultimate team, unstoppable.
I asked Coach if Basketball has any benefits , “ Yes it does, teaches you how to handle more than one task i.e jaggle books and sports , sponsorships ,exposure: travelling and confidence and you get the chance to meet different people.” ‘
“Basketball is everything to me , without it , I wouldn’t be what I am .”| Coach|
I’ve been asking people what basketball means to them but maybe it’s my turn ; Basketball ,to me isn’t just a game. It’s more than that, it is first love. Opened my eyes to the world , showed me that success comes from hard work and cannot be taken on an elevator , but the stairs. Basketball will forever hold a special part in my life . Besides as the saying goes , ‘ Once a baller , always a baller.’
Compiled by Bukenya Aliyah Ruth
I had the chance to speak to a former student and basketball player of NGS. Coach Mariam, we mentioned her earlier as ‘Birungi Mariam’ as one of the legendary Basketball players through the years.
Coach Mariam joined Nabisunsa in Form1,1998 and instantly picked interest in Basketball, “I liked basketball more because it would move out almost every weekend.” She said. She said that the sport was overall fun both and off court but her best part was after game because they would eat food ,(I mean can you blame her). Okay lets come back ,she learnt the game quickly due to her past in Netball in her primary. She joined the team in form one and was an all round player ; could play forward ,point guard ,center ,power forward….. name it , “ My special tea was center because I was good at stealing.” She says. To make her more ‘deadly’ , she was a ‘bwat’ ,Mr. Mukibi still talks about her till date.
I asked her if there was a difference between the basketball then and now. “Yes,” she says “ there is a huge difference in both positive and negative ways.” In her days, the team accomplished way much more than the recent teams have, so many awards and trophies compared to today . I think its because of the difference in circumstances in both positive and negative ways. Let’s say both teams have an advantage and disadvantage.
The teams then were more passionate about the game , would train with boys at times and of which their training was intense maybe because they had fresh , young coaches ;plenty of experience in the game ,they were also coached by more than one coach so it was to their advantage . Another factor could be perhaps ,female basketball had just come into the picture and competition was not that tight as only two schools were dominant by then Sunsas and Kitante.
This team has tight competition; so many schools have stepped up over the years, our team has limited time to train compared to its competitors another could be that the players individual strength is less maybe because it’s just the generation. Though we can’t deny the fact that the current team has fought to stay up there and have really caught up, though they are also advantaged because they have taller and bigger players, the players then were smaller and shorter ,they also start training at an early age so they require the skill early compared to then; they would start playing later on . “But what has made both generations achieve what they have is their teamwork , consistency, solidarity and most of all their competitive energy,” Coach Mariam says.
We call her ‘Coach’ because she’s currently coaching at Rainbow International, for those of you who think sports ends at school, today I want you to realize how wrong you are because Coach Mariam and many more enthusiasts are living proof that its way much more than just games.
Yes Coach Mariam started playing in her form1 but little did she know it would have such a great impact on her life. On playing for Nabisunsa ,she got ‘clout’ that by the time she finished her form 6, she was wanted in Ugandan Basketball, she attended umping classes then later joined the mighty Lady Backs ; a team that was in the NBL(National Basketball League), then transferred to KCCA and retired playing for A1 Challenge, while playing for all these teams , her tuition was catered for , her rent as well her everything was sponsored just by playing the game. She stopped playing because she lost the zeal for playing and was getting too old to handle the game but she didn’t just stop there, ‘once a baller , always a baller.’ She continued umping the game till date ,now coaches and you won’t believe that through the game she met the love of her life with whom she has a baby girl, you never know she could be the next face of basketball. In summary basketball has had an impact on her life, “ through playing,” she said, “I became exposed , was educated; scholarship at university, I was housed and fed , met people I’ll always cherish , I even created a job opportunity for myself , I was the first female zonal referee in Uganda I inspired more women into it.” And to add onto her work ,she’s currently the Vice President Executive Commission of Referee’s Uganda.
You can see how big of an impact basketball had on her life , “I don’t regret ever playing basketball .” she says. Sports takes you places ,so give it a chance today or if you’re there and want to give up , keep going ,you never know how far the game will take you.
Complied by Bukenya Aliyah Ruth S2 South