From Jason Mehl to Robert Mugabe to Nicholas Natuhereza. From one set of brothers, Mugabe and Geoff Omondi, to another of Ivan Enabu and Jimmy Enabu.
The brothers’ path never worked. So, UCU Canons turned to Sudi Ulanga. For four years, the Tanzanian guard was handed the responsibility of delivering the final.
Desmond Owili played an able sidekick top Ulanga though often let down by his temperament that resulted in lengthy ban two years.
During eight years of hurt, six of them ending in semifinal failures, Natuhereza was only a footnote, even a detriment to some.
It’s not Mehl or Mugabe who delivered the final, eliminating KIUT Titans 3-2 in the semifinals last week, a flawed Natuhereza did, his abrasive character notwithstanding.
“Actually, Jason sent me a message before and after the (decisive semifinal) game,” the 31-year old coach, often known for his confrontational-but-detrimental approach, told Daily Monitor.
On paper, this is not the most talented team UCU has ever assembled having lost Ulanga to Tiger Head Power at the end of last season.
Arguments can be for the 2005-2007 and 2011-12 teams as the best the university managed.
Neither made it this far, often choking when the final came calling.
“I have received lots of messages of congratulations from everyone especially former players but they should now stop,” Natuhereza, coaching for a fifth season, said.
“The previous were good but this had more togetherness. There is character and leadership unlike before.”
The curse is gone and the unheralded Mass Communication graduate has the right to write the history of the war.
UCU league record
*2007: Led 1-0 but lost 2-1 to Falcons in semis (LOST)
*2008: Led 1-0 before losing 2-1 to Power in semis (LOST)
*2009: After forcing a Game 5, Warriors beat UCU 3-2 in semis (LOST)
*2010: Survived relegation as coach Robert Mugabe looked lost
*2011: Trailed 2-1, forced a Game 5, before losing 3-2 to Warriors in semis (LOST)
*2012: Won their first series, beating Power 2-1 in the inaugural quarterfinals (WON)
*2012: Led 2-1 but lost 3-2 to Warriors in the semis (LOST)
*2013: After losing Game 1, went down 2-1 to Falcons in quarterfinals (LOST)
*2014: Came from behind to beat Falcons 2-1 in the quarterfinals (WON)
*2014: UCU took a 2-0 lead in the semis against City Oilers and lost 3-2 (LOST)
*2015: Let 2-1, before KIU took them into Game 5, UCU prevailed 3-2 (WON)
*2015: Lost Game One of seven-game final series to City Oilers