Smack solid for Namilyango return

The notion of sports coexisting with academics has always been frowned upon the world over but more so here in Uganda. With the relationship deepening, the move to abstract sports from academics (or vice versa) has rapidly gained traction.

Nowhere is this vexing trend more apparent in schools rugby. Parents are taking exception to their kids wielding the oval ball. They would rather their little ones immerse themselves in what has come to typify academia — books and more books.

Sport does coexist uneasily with academics in the developed world, but this is because of its commercialisation forays. Classroom corruption has taken centre-stage as academic institutions pad grade-point averages of their star athletes who cannot read or write.

Sport in the developed world is a billion dollar industry — even at collegiate level — and these riches have been as double-edged as they come. Academic institutions are co-opting athletes who can help them partake of the billions of dollars available in the industry.

It doesn’t matter to them whether the athletes co-opted are equipped with the educational and life skill set needed to go places.In the developing world, the concerns with the sports industry are of a markedly different nature. Parents reckon that the energy-sapping realm of sports is making students’ grades take a nosedive. But just how true is this assertion? Do the ethos of sport — camaraderie, teamwork and problem-solving — act as a subtle stumbling block in the classroom? Not in rugby. The academic doyens at the behemoth that is St Mary’s College Kisubi have since time immemorial been rugby players. Felix Lubega, Paul Kabazzi and Matthew Egeru spring to mind.

Telling roleThe tradeoff between sports and academics is one that can be struck. Sport doesn’t have to be marginalised as it plays a telling role in someone’s development.

As well as keeping one healthy, sport helps mould characters. Keeping kids within four walls — be they in the classroom, dining hall and dormitory — is anything but productive. It in fact forestalls their growth. Extra-curricular activities such as sport offer a much-needed platform for emotional release. Athletes perennially use sport as a vehicle to release pent-up frustrations and the like.

This ultimately gives sporting students the right frame of mind — a clean slate of sorts — that helps them aance their literacy skills. Owing to this and indeed the other positives that abound in it, sport doesn’t deserve the reputation haemorrhage that it finds itself grappling with. Parents need to stop viewing sport with the stereotypical gaze they have used since time immemorial.

Local cricket fans hoping Kwebiiha turns back clock

Cricket has a curious fondness for golden oldies. Many of them have revelled in Indian summers. We have seen some of them firsthand — William Kibuukamusoke with that characteristic gray hair shade — and others on telly — the portly frame of Sri Lanka’s Aravinda da Silva.When close-door neighbours Kenya asked its living legends Steve Tikolo and Thomas Odoyo to turn back the clock at both a string on international qualifying tournaments, it reinforced that recurring motif of veterans enjoying their moment in the sun.

Both Tikolo and Odoyo duly rolled back the years en route to helping Kenya finish in relatively respectable places in the tournaments they featured.Many Ugandan cricket fans that followed Tikolo and Odoyo’s purple patches were doubtless left with a palpable lump in the throat.

No golden oldieCould the likes of Junior Kwebiiha help give them something to smile about if they snapped their sabbaticals? In his early 30s, Kwebiiha may be no golden oldie but he is a veteran, who knows his way around a cricket pitch.When work commitments made it untenable for Kwebiiha to figure for both club and country, general consensus proffered that big shoes were being left behind.

A terrible sense of loss permeated the local cricket circles, and rightly so. Kwebiiha had been a constant in most of Uganda’s modern day cricket success stories. He played numerous cameo roles during that landmark 2001 ICC Trophy in Canada. The all-rounder also captained the Cricket Cranes side that memorably — and convincingly, I hasten to add — beat Namibia away in Windhoek during a three-day game in the 2004 ICC Intercontinental Cup.

Comeback chanceWell, I tell you what, Kwebiiha has since fashioned a comeback in club colours. And guess what, it wasn’t your average textured comeback. Kwebiiha showed no signs of rust recently as he found gaps with some textbook shots whilst featuring for his beloved Africa Cricket Club in the National T20 league.

Who knows, if he finds time off his busy work schedule at EzeeMoney, he could well find himself donning Cricket Cranes colours. One final fling before a tranquil retirement would do him no harm, would it?

What we now know…. We now know that Kenya-based midfielder Khalid Aucho is now something of a permanent fixture in Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic’s Cranes side.As many already know, Aucho played all 90 minutes during Uganda’s 2-1 loss at the hands of Zambia in an international friendly match on Wednesday. We also know that Aucho didn’t do anything catastrophically bad to jeopardise his Cranes hopes.

With Micho having developed a reputation of taking what transpires in a friendly match seriously (ask net minder Abbey Dhaira who fluffed his lines against Libya), we know that Aucho’s quietly effective display according to Zambian reports won’t go unnoticed.

The left footed midfielder was one of the finds for The Cranes at last year’s forgettable Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup. We now know that he has a chance to make himself a mainstay in The Cranes midfield alongside the likes of Tonny Mawejje.

MEMORIES Big Temperament. It was Khalid Aucho’s strike from the edge of the box that Cranes needed to beat Sudan in their final Group C match at last year’s Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup at Nyayo Stadium, Nairobi Kenya to help the Ugandans aance to the quarterfinals with an unbeaten record. Coach Micho Sredejovic’s troops where however dumped out of the event by Tanzania in post match penalties.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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