By Patrick Ochieng
It’s often said that one cannot attain success unless they set out for the journey. This very well tells the trajectory of the JKL Lady Dolphins team. What can you achieve in a space of a year?
A National Basketball League (NBL) Women championship, a FIBA Africa Zone V Women championship, and now proud representatives of the country in the fourth coming FIBA Africa Women’s Champions Cup to take place in Palais Des Sports Mohamasima in Antananarivo Madagascar next month.
There are no prizes for guessing whether the list gets longer as years go-by. One thing is for sure though, this paramount respect comes in reflection to their masterpieces of the glittering artwork since their inception in 2017.
Journey to the Top Flight
With a wave of many fans in the country with an authentic belief that Monday Juruni’s side has redefined the requirements to glory of women basketball in the league, their unprecedented rise to fame however, as for a fact been influenced by the blueprint to success their head coach does possess.
This has been more noticeable since his takeover in 2018, same year the Dolphins conquer women basketball and bring to an end a three successive title era of dominance for rivals UCU Lady Canons.
The transition was handled seamlessly for two years and through their marquee signings Flavia Oketcho, Jamila Nansikombi and Ritah Imanishimwe from UCU Canons who have transformed the fortunes of the Dolphins.
It has undoubtably been a ridiculous journey recalling from the casual start and now to the giant killers that halted the dominancy of the Lady Canons.
They stormed into the 2018 Playoff finals against a star-studied but ill-organized UCU Lady Canons team and employed them as rugs with which they whipped the Lugogo MTN Arena floor.
FIBA Zone V Women’s Championship Triumph
With multiple failed attempts from counterparts KCCA Leopards and UCU Lady Canons, the 2019 edition of the Zone V championship saw debutants JKL Lady Dolphins take on Kenya Port Aurhority (KPA) to the cleaners in the final at the National Indoor Stadium in Dar-el-Salaam.
JKL Lady Dolphins were crowned champions following a convincing 62-53 win in the final game against KPA.
Many would argue that the underlying fact of being undergoes in this particular tournament sparked the invocation of that adrenaline from deep within that saw them thrive.
Team skipper Flavia Oketcho lend the proceedings with 15 points with Brenda Ekone scoring 14 points, Hope Akello 10 points and Zainah Lokwameri 10 bringing the title home in their first ever zonal outing.
Winning their maiden Zone V title meant that the Lady Dolphins booked a direct ticket to the African champions Cup which in its self is a big milestone. They therefore would love to stamp their authority at yet another big stage.
The game at this tournament however is twice as challenging and Flavia and company have multiple first-hand experience of this truth.
On their day, JKL can beat any team in the region but winning a tournament however requires consistence, determination, and occasional brilliance. Their title ambition thus forth should ordinarily take precedent to the apprenticeship of their head coach most importantly.
The likes of Flavia, Ritah and Nansikombi do boast of the skill, composure and experience to lead this franchise to the next level.
NBL Playoffs 2019
Despite their maiden achievement in the Zone V championships, their league off this season has been incredibly something to write home about.
With glimpses of their dominancy threating the league, many came up with a flamboyant gesture of already handing the title to the Dolphins at the start of regular season. This was said in respect to their form.
They won 39 out of the first 40 games of regular season going ahead to register 13 successive wins in a 10-team league. They only fall short to A1 challenge and lost only 2 games the entire regular season.
They have carried their form in the playoffs washing UMU Ravens Basketball Club 2-0 in the best-of-three quarter final series that saw them confirm a semi-final date with KIU Rangers that is to be played in a best-of-five series.
Their quest for a second consecutive playoff final that started with an average UMU Ravens side sees with face a ruthless Rangers side that won’t take any prisoners coming into the semi-final.
Many fans however believe it will be a replay of last year’s final between JKL Lady Dolphins and UCU Lady Canons. A game that surely is never short on quality, drama and excitement.
Patrick Ochieng is the public relations officer of JKL Dolphins