On Monday evening, two basketball clubs UPDF Tomahawks and Falcons met in what could have easily passed off as a regular season match only that this time it was a relegation decider.
The loser would sink to the lower level, the winner would stay afloat and slug it out with the big boys.
When the game was done and the lights were out, Falcons, the country’s most successful basketball club (having won five league titles), had been condemned to the second tier.
They lost 70-66 against the army side.
Some basketball fans said this was the most shocking news in the game’s history but the club president Dennis Mbidde told The Nile Post said the club’s dismal performance was not surprising because he saw it coming.
He in fact conceded that they belonged to the lower ranks.
“Personally I was not surprised, I saw it coming; last season we survived relegation by a whisker even with the best player in the region Steven Omondi in our trunks . I told my team at the beginning of the season –every game is a final. That’s the worst scenario you can face in sport.”
Leaning against a swivel chair and looking relaxed, the heavily bearded Mbidde continued: “I have seen worst days in sports, and this is no exception. Dynasties like Manchester United have gone down, and resurrected.”
he said club supporters must accept that Falcons belongs in division one.
Whereas Mbidde wears his heart on his sleeves and the I don’t-take -prisoner approach to life, his calm not even his demeanour can obscure the fact that he is worried about life in the lower league.
For starters, the second tier does not attract the amount of sponsorship money like the top league neither is it given sufficient media coverage.
“I need to sort the administration going forward; a great club exists beyond two people myself, and Ssemanda, the director,” he said nonchalantly.
Secondly, he said, he had spent more than Shs 60 million of his money in trying to rebuild the club. He will never recoup it.
In division one, the lights do not shine as bright. The playing surfaces are not fibre glass but rough surfaces.
Mbidde believes some good could still come out of the tough circumstances Falcons find themselves in.
“If we retain our team, we shall be back in the top tier. I don’t see a better team in the championship. We just need two to three additions,” he said, staring blankly into the sky.