The Monitor (Kampala)

Uganda: Top 10 Sporting Headlines of the Year

This year will surely be remembered and below is a countdown of the top 10 sporting stories.

1. Cranes fail to reach Afcon 2012

Hardly any Ugandan could have anticipated that the final score would read 0-0 in the must win and last qualifier against Kenya. But there it was! Reality had struck as a barren stalemate meant Uganda's absence from participating in the biggest continental event would be prolonged to 35 years. Even Cranes' later triumph with a 12th Cecafa title couldn't take the frown off the fans' faces.

2. Uganda shocks Namibia in T20 final

Namibia had beaten Uganda twice in the preliminary round but the home boys saved the best for last. In-front of what is arguably the biggest crowd ever to watch a cricket game in Uganda, Davis Karashani led his troops to a stunning six-wicket win over favourites Namibia. Roger Mukasa (42) and Arthur Kyobe (34) took the game to the opposition with bold play. Frank Nsubuga (26) and Benjamin Musoke (19) sealed the sweet win with 14 balls to spare, making Uganda the African champions. The ladies borrowed a leaf from the men and won the women's version of the Africa Premier League.

3. Super Lady Muwonge wins NRC title

Susan Muwonge lived up to her rallying name 'Super Lady'. She became the first female driver to win the prestigious National Rally Championship (NRC) title. Navigated by Edmond Kyeyune, Muwonge inscribed her name into history books when she won the Independence Rally in October. She, however, had to battle Ponsiano Lwakataka in eight of the 10 competitive sections. In the end, she won with ease after Lwakataka dropped out with two sections left.

4. Golola vs. Nagy controversy

This controversial fight will live in the memories of many for years. Even to the blind man, Moses Golola lost to Andras Nagy but everyone was shocked when the emcee Roger Mugisha announced a unanimous decision in favour of the Ugandan. WKF boss Fritz Exenberger was irked and reversed the result. But Golola's camp 'stole' the belt. Then a previously unknown Pastor Evans Mayambala, older brother of Golola, emerged demanding for exorbitant fees on behalf of his sibling. The cash row rages on.

5. All Africa Games medal haul

Even the 11th hour preparations didn't deter, Uganda's small contingent from returning with eight medals. Moses Kipsiro, Annet Negesa (athletics), Christine Akullo (Paralympics) and the She Cranes netball team picked up priceless gold medals that helped Uganda finish 14th out of 36 nations. Badminton ace Edwin Ekiring won silver whereas tennis star Duncan Mugabe and bomber Ronald Sserugo and Paralympics' Job Emong returned home with bronze.

6. Fufa - Uganda Super League row

Fufa and Uganda Super League treaded blows for three months. Fufa insisted on promoting three clubs from the Big League while USL wanted only two. After insurmountable pressure, USL gave a nod to three. But they had to recall relegated Fire Masters to ensure the league had an even number of 16. That, however, backfired as USL expelled Busia-Hoima Tigers, who failed to meet the requirements and it came back to 15. As the USL started on September 9, Fufa officials allegedly threatened to levy punishments to local sides that took part without their consent.

7. DMark Power win 2011 Fuba League

The best of seven final series fittingly came down to the final shot before Power edged Kyambogo Warriors 99-97 to complete their first-ever title defence at YMCA. Power clinched the series 4-3 to make it three titles in four years.

8. Byaruhanga shock, Namakula power

At 40, Rogers Byaruhanga stunned a host of elite young guns to win the 71st Uganda Amateur Open Championship in style by one-shot after a final round of 76. Flavia Namakula was the queen of the greens as she dominated the 58th Uganda Ladies Amateur Open. She started with a five-shot and maintained it to the end with an aggregate of 223.

9. Ladies reach 2013 WC qualifiers

From almost failing to make trips, the women ruggers beat all odds. They lost final 40-5 to South Africa in the pre-qualifier final in Botswana. But the job had been accomplished as they had already qualified for the 2013 Sevens World Cup qualifiers.

10. Passing of former sporting icons

The local sports fraternity mourned many deaths. Veteran coach David Otti lost a battle to diabetes in March. His death came barely a fortnight after the demise of two prominent figures. Former Uganda Olympic Committee president retired Maj. Gen. Francis Nyangweso and retired Caf instructor Rajab Kisekka. Boxing would also mourn the passing of official Bob Kasule and coach Musa Kent whereas football lost long-time serving administrators Balamaze Lwanga and Edward Luyimbazi Mugalu. Falcons' John Ssimbwa also passed on.

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