National Basketball League side Namuwongo Blazers have set lofty targets after unveiling their latest partnership with Flutterwave.
Flutterwave, a leading financial Technology company, have sponsored Nam Blazers with $18500, approximately Sh69m, until the end of the ongoing season.
The club, promoted in NBL in October 2019, are playing in their first full season in top flight after recent seasons were hampered by COVID-19.
The Namuwongo-based side have their targets straight – to win the league and also dominate in the region and beyond.
“This is hopefully going to be our first full season in NBL, if the league is played to completion, we are very excited to be at this level, and this partnership gives us a boost that is much needed,” said Head of Operations at the club Hajji Farouk Zzinda during the Sponsorship unveiling at Hotel Africana on Thursday.
“We are up against a number of teams which are very competitive, particularly a seven time champion (City Oilers) who has been very dominant. We are doing every thing we can do reach to that level.
“Our expectations are very clear – vie for the championship and there is no two way about that, we want to do that with the team and players we have. And much as City Oilers are seven-time, we have beaten them in all games we have faced them, and we don’t intend to change that, it’s not about Oilers alone, there are also other good teams in the league.
“We expect big things, to our fans we expect to have exciting basketball, we have the top players in East Africa and beyond, we think we have put together a team that is going to compete, a team that is going to be exciting on our way to build this ‘A’ team that is going to compete in Uganda, beyond East Africa and for Africa.”
The club’s long term ambition is to rub shoulders with the best teams on the continent, and that is playing at the Basketball Africa League (BAL), which is Africa’s premier men’s basketball league.
The club has acquired three players in the mid transfer window – Chris Omanye (DR Congo) and Kenyan duo of Kenneth Wachira and Ariel Okall.
Farouk added: “We try to make our team better and better and we believe we are much improved than we were last season.
“These strong additions will be able to give us the edge when we are competing with the rest of the teams.”
This season, the side is currently fifth on the log with 11 wins and 4 losses, having won six in a row.
Farouk expressed confidence in his technical team: “We work very closely with our technical team, we supervise every activity that is done, we are aligning everything to the details, the coaches and managers are all aligned with what we want to achieve and we are all pointing to the same direction and we want to see where it gets us to by the end of the season.”
Despite a semblance of organisation in the front office, Club coach Stephen ‘Escodata’ Nyeko said that is he is not under any pressure to deliver because they (technical) are also putting in the work in training.
The new sponsor Flutterwave was founded in 2016 but came to Uganda Market in 2019, and their Regional Manager Sangho Nielsimms is confident Nam Blazers will showcase their products to the world.
Sangho also stated that they have been attracted to the club because of their targets.
“When you hear their CEO speaking, their targets and vision reaffirms our decision to come and be part of this team,” Sangho briefly commented.
“We are incredibly excited to partner with one of the country’s most promising and exciting Sports teams and wish them best of luck ahead.”
The Sponsorship is a big boost for the Blazers given the financial hardships in the industry.
Nam Blazers President George Nkya said that they have tightened their belts despite the financial distress the community is experiencing.
He added: “We are looking at alternative income streams, this partnership allows us to push more merchandise on online platforms and this will help us to sustain the club.
He revealed that the club will be going to their new home and will also continue to engage their sponsors to see that they can improve on the kitty.
You Have Raised The Bar High – FUBA President
FUBA President Nasser Sserunjogi said that Nam Blazers are deserved of the achievement.
“Nam is one of the teams that have branded so well, they have the presence and visible on socials. It was easy for them to convince flutterwave,” Sserunjogi who doubles as the KIU Titans president said.
“In NBL, if we had 12 teams who also acquire sponsors of such calibre, this game would have grown faster. There will be a lot of buzz in Town about Basketball.
“But people tend to ignore things that sometimes do not require a lot of money. You find a team in NBL without even a Facebook page or Twitter handle and you wonder how they want to brand themselves. These are the things that kill the brand of basketball and sport in general. We should take them seriously if we want to grow the sport.”
“Nam Blazers have raised the bar high, and I hope that other members should borrow a leaf and this will help us grow not only in Uganda and in the region. The competition will be very exciting.”
Nam Blazers Squad – Collins Kasujja, Amisi Saidi, Richard Ongom, Daniel Juuko, David ‘Dikong’ Deng, Chuol Nyuot, Daniel Monoja, Chris Omanye, Joseph Ikong, Paul Odong, Blair Wadaya, Syrus Kiviiri, Kenneth Wachira
July 15 – City Oilers
July 16 – Falcons
July 22 – UCU Canons
July 24 – KCCA Panthers
July 29 – Power
July 30 – Victoria University
Aug 5 – Our Saviour
Aug 6 – Tropical Royals
Aug 12 – JKL Dolphins