The road to KOBs triumph: Was it more luck than preparedness?

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By Ali Mutanje

Watching Pirates lose to KOBs at Legends on Saturday 8th, one would think KOBs have been riding luck this season. The clash was never going to be easy given Pirates too would win the title if they won this game by a specific margin. 

The field was soggy and there was pressure when they missed two early penalties. The weather made it hard and they lost Odongo too. 

Their first try could have been easily ruled out on account Al-Haji had got into touch by the time he touched the ball. Even center Sauda Adiru was hesitant to give it.  Such controversial moments are what drew the line and decided the game

Was it luck? 

Maybe they were lucky to win the Pirates game. But going a whole season unbeaten, amidst a pandemic even when it was a single round circuit season is not something you only ride on luck for. The champions had the best defense in the league. Conceding only two tries. 

Defense was breached by Heathen’s Gerald Ssewankambo and Pirates’ Harunah Muhammed. All sports men if not most know a league title is won on good defense and KOBs  must have known this before this season began. 

But how exactly did they prepare to win this? The answer is squad additions 

They built a foundation with intent in the transfer window. The Old Boys of Kampala brought in 7 new faces to bolster the side. James Odong and Byron Oketayot were joined by Saul Kivumbi, Mike Otto, Arthur Mpande, Robert Masendi and Brian Ochan. 

These additions laid a foundation, at least on paper for them to have the best and most balanced squad in the league. 

Proper medical team recruitment 

The quick recovery of James Odong was not witchcraft, KOBs  knew the season would be hard with little prep time and injuries were inevitable when they recruited renowned strength and conditioning coach Timothy Mudoola to their medical team. 

Having worked with Geoffrey Konami, he brought on well needed knowledge on how to handle exertion in the squad and in the end it paid off. Keeping most of the star players available and for the full season. 

Pius Ogena firing and Brian Odongo

Ogena’s contribution cannot be underestimated. From the back row he pushes the side forward and moves in their slow build up in game plays. He fits the system perfectly. In addition to his contributions in the back , he scores when he wants while tirelessly helping out at over play and set pieces. His position as the top try scorer in the league with 10 speaks volumes. 

Amongst all the players he probably deserves the title more than any after trying out and failing for 3 years with KOBs . 

After the return of Brian Odongo, the team got stability from his leadership in the locker room and organization skills on the field. Captain Brian Asaba couldn’t do it all alone therefore the steady helping hand of Odongo was very helpful in keeping the team focused and digging out wins even under pressure. 

Firing from all corners 

With the best defense in the league, KOBS hardly disappointed in attack. Scoring for fun in some games and almost hitting a century of points against Mongers. They kicked off the season with high scores maligning half century points against Rhinos in their first game.They didn’t stop as they went on to kill off sides like Warriors and Rams on their way to their title. 

Perhaps there was some bit of luck in the Pirates game but who is to say they didn’t deserve the title? There was hard work and resolve too in a side that swept everything aside to win their 13th title after five years to go two behind Heathens on 15. 

Impis and Pirates are the only other sides to have won the title on single occasions each. 

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