Sport-S Volleyball Club has won the 2022/23 men’s national volleyball league title, beating Uganda Christian University 2-1 in the best-of-three series to clinch the championship.
After a long 14-year wait, Sport-S finally clinched victory, having been unsuccessful in their previous attempts to win the title.
In past seasons, OBB, Nemostars, KAVC, and Nkumba had dominated the competition, finishing ahead of Sport-S.
However, this time around, the team was able to overcome their past shortcomings and emerge victorious, marking a significant achievement for the club.
The matches took place at the Old Kampala Arena, with the first game played last Sunday, the second game on Saturday, May 6th, and the final game on Sunday evening.
In the first game, Sport-S suffered a 3-2 defeat, but they showed resilience and came back strong to win the second game 3-1 and the final game 3-0.
Head Coach Benon Mugisha expressed his joy, saying, “It is really significant. Those 14 years, it is a process. You know you can’t just win a trophy without a plan. Changing players, coming in, going out things like that.”
“But it is really something so significant and it boosts our new players that have played Serie A for the first time. This means our team is going to another level.”
Sport-S proved to be dominant in the league, displaying exceptional performance right from the start.
They showcased their readiness to dominate in their very first game against the then-title holders OBB, with an electric performance that introduced Michael Mangon to the Ugandan volleyball scene.
Winning 17 out of the 18 games played, their consistent and determined play made them the clear favorites for the title.
OBB and Sport-S would later meet again in the semi finals and the latter emerged victors to advance to the finals, to face UCU who beat KAVC to make the same stage.
After falling behind 1-0 initially, Sport-S made a stunning comeback in the finals, eventually winning 2-1.
They launched their return on Saturday by defeating UCU 3-1, which gave them an opportunity to square the series and leave their opponents demoralized.
In game three, Sport-S led by Thon Makar won the first set 25-23, dominated the second set 25-14 with Dickens Otim’s excellent net defense, and won the closely contested third set to clinch the championship as UCU struggled to establish a lead in the decisive game.
UCU’s wing attacker Nickson Tumusiime, and center players Ian Akampa and Vincent Odeke, encountered tough resistance on the net, and despite their efforts, they were unable to carry the entire workload, leaving Nespal Angiro to shoulder much of the burden, which ultimately proved insufficient.
Benon commended the challenge posed by UCU while acknowledging the disciplined defense and effective planning of Sport-S.
However, he also revealed the behind-the-scenes difficulties they faced due to the players’ tight commitments, which made it challenging to schedule training time for all players to attend, with many having to show up passed time.
“UCU put up a good challenge, though we had planned well and we had discipline in defence. I think what the fans don’t see is the preparation. Mainly too much training, making sure all players show up for training from work given their tight schedules, many appear at six. So our biggest challenge has been time for training.”
Sport-S is currently eyeing the Africa Championships and when asked about the club’s technical readiness for the continent, Coach Mugisha expressed confidence, stating “We are ready. That’s the level we are on now.”
However, he also emphasized the need for the team to first think about their approach before the tournament.
Despite coming from a lower stature league, the club appears to be prepared and eager to take on the challenge of competing on the continent.