Sport
Basketball legendary coach 'Smatts' passes on
Publish Date: Feb 03, 2014
Basketball legendary coach 'Smatts' passes on
The basketball fraternity will miss Olumbos wealth of knowledge of the game
  • mail
  • img
newvision

By Charles Mutebi
 
The mastermind of the Falcons' last national basketball league championship is dead.
 
Kenyan Thomas 'Smatts' Olumbo lost his long battle with illness Saturday at Nairobi's Mbagathi's Hospital, taking with him a wealth of basketball knowledge that was the envy of Zone Five.
 
Olumbo is arguably Kenya's greatest coach, with a bevy of local and regional achievements spanning over two decades. But in Uganda, Smatts will always be remembered for his magical act in the Falcons run to the 2007 FUBA men's top division title.
 
Underdogs from onset of the 2007 playoffs, the Falcons were on the brink of elimination after losing Game 1 of the best-of-three semi-finals by over 20 points to overwhelming favourites UCU Canons.
 
New on the scene, UCU employed a stifling full-court press that had bamboozled the entire league, giving Jason Mehl's team a division-best 17-1 record at the end of the regular season.
 
When UCU humbled the Falcons 71-49 in Game 1, the series seemed finished. Enter Olumbo. Falcons' owner John Simbwa - now also deceased - called on his friend, who was in the middle of his own coaching engagements in Kenya.
 
Olumbo spent a week with the Falcons ahead of Game 2 and was on the bench as Eric Malinga and company shattered UCU's vaunted press and their title hopes to win the series 2-1. The Falcons subsequently fell 2-0 behind the Kyambogo Warriors in the finals.
 
But again, the Falcons rallied, this time winning three on the trot to claim a record sixth title.
 
"He had a great impact (on our title run)," recalls Malinga, who was part of the team.

"He was very inspirational. By the time you walked out of a training session, you had 10 times more belief than before. He was very insightful and knew how to use his team's strength against the opponents' weaknesses".
 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Ssentongo nets hat-trick as URA wallops Entebbe
Robert Ssentongo dreams of the day he will emulate big names like Issa Sekatawa, Magid Musisi, Matthias Kaweesa and Hassan Mubiru....
Who will take the 2013/2014 Rugby MVP award?
Kobs’ winger Justin Kimono may be the most popular rugby player of this generation but that doesn’t hand him the Most Valuable Player award for the 2013/2014....
South Africa
South Africa's Olympic 800m runner Mbulaeni Mulaudzi has been killed in a car crash...
Rugby clubs scramble for players ahead of league kick-off
The scramble for players has taken centre stage as the 2014/2015 Nile Special Premier Rugby League kicks off next on November 1, 2014....
Boniface Kiprop targets Beijing World championships
Former Commonwealth and World Junior 10000m champion Boniface Kiprop has said that he has fully recovered from the muscle injury that has kept him off the track for over five years and his target is to win a medal at next year’s IAAF World Athletics championships in Beijing....
Uganda scrapes past Singapore by one run
Jonathan Ssebanja kept his calm, picking two wickets, including facilitating a run-out on the last ball as he guided Uganda to a one run victory over Singapore....
Should diplomatic passports issued to ex-govt workers be with drawn?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter