Shilla Omuriwe is no stranger to coaching men's teams but her new role as head coach of the Volleyball Cranes is a whole new challenge.
Having coached KAVC men to a league championship in 2014 and led Air Force out of Serie B to the top division in 2019, Omuriwe knows a lot about dishing out instructions and most importantly getting results from her troops.
Results will be needed from 12 of the 18 players the tactician has summoned to prepare for the upcoming Africa Nations Championship. Omuriwe and Uganda Volleyball Federation set their eyes on the World Championships.
"It's an honour to be selected as head coach of any national team," Omuriwe said at her unveiling held at the UVF office in Lugogo Wednesday morning.
"I have worked with men's sides before and this is a task I'm ready for and I'm excited about it," she added.
The former KAVC tutor has her work cut out with the upcoming tournament set to happen anywhere between August 16 and September 19 in either Rwanda or Tunisia. Due to Covid-19 disruptions in the last two years, most of the players have not played sufficient competitive volleyball since 2019 with only the Ndejje Open held both in 2020 and 2021.
Only Nemostars players and Ivan Ongom, who played for Rwanda's REG at the Africa Clubs Championship, have experienced high level competition this year.
Nemostars featured at the club continental showpiece in April.
Hoping and praying
Omuriwe and her team will be praying for the tournament to come in the final bend of the stipulated time frame to allow themselves enough time with the squad. "We are hoping and praying that we can get the boys in camp next week and hopefully the tournament comes towards the end of the timeline we have been given."
The team will have at least three weeks of training before hearing from CAVB about the final dates of the tournament.
UVF First Vice President Ahmed Kigunddu revealed that the plan is to have the team training in a bubble to rule out any Covid-19 related challenges.
Gideon Angiro (KCCA), George Aporu (Nemostars), Brian Atuhaire (Sport-S), Allan Ejiet Olokotum (KAVC), Emma Elanyu (Nemostars), Sam Engwau (VVC), Bernard Malinga (Nemostars), Sharif Nabanji (OBB), Marino Oboke (Sport-S), Moses Odeke (Nemostars), Nathan Okare Edulu (OBB), Daudi Okello, Emmanuel Okia (Ndejje), Smith Okumu (Nemostars), Ivan Ongom, Dickens Otim (Sport-S), Johnson Rukundo (Sport-S), Jonathan Tumukunde (Nemostars).