RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Makerere onto the semi-finals


The feeling that Ugandan universities are in some way jinxed when it comes to Zain Africa Challenge dissipated like mist after Makerere University trounced the University of the Ghana in last Sunday’s first quarterfinal.

With the bespectacled Simon Peter Nyero Lukwiya in the driving seat, Mak proved hot on Hot Topics in Africa, Rivers and Streams and Venomous Animals, outplaying the opponent with 130 points against 50.

But as the game rules dictate, the brilliant law student stepped aside for Ruita Mbogo in the second round, only for the Kenyan to switch on his mediocrity thereby endorsing Ghana to outstrip us by 90 points.

The light-skinned Mbogo was so slow on the buzzer and flunked every first question that would have permitted his teammates to help out. It was so upsetting particularly when I recalled his equally appalling display in the opening episode in which Mak narrowly survived the University of Malawi.

It is paradoxical that while his homeboys are playing expeditiously (Kenya has three teams in the quarterfinals), Mbogo is frustratingly slow. Is he being conspiratorial by not playing his heart out and therefore slowing his team so that a university from his homeland can go all the way? Whatever the case, Mbogo has twice proven beyond reasonable doubt that he does not deserve a place on that esteemed Mak team. For that, Coach Philip Kazibwe should replace him with dangerous substitute Daniel Bagonza in the semi finals where the competition is guaranteed to be even stiffer.

As it is, it took the precocious Lamech to rescue us from the precarious position we were seemingly helplessly in. The first year Actuarial Science student was dazzling as he nailed John Sibi-Okumu’s rapid-fire questions, and turned our misfortune into hope; helping us net 270 points, only 10 behind Ghana.

It gave Mak the opportunity to play first in the thrilling 60-second-10-questions-worth-500 points Ultimate Challenge. And they were precious to watch as they pursued victory like a hungry lion chasing a stag in the jungles of southern Sudan. Again it was Lamech’s golden offerings that secured Mak a score of 400 points out of 500, giving us a grand total of 670 points.

Ghana which at this stage was 390 points behind needed eight correct answers or they would be goners. They inhaled. The questioner started shooting. With bated breath, I watched the tongue of the clock cross the finish line at the moment the West Africans had cracked just six questions (300 points and therefore a grand total of 580) and making Mak the day's champs. I jumped up in sheer relief and excitement, clapping and deliriously echoing Sibi-Okumu's trademark rhyme, “Well done well won", convinced that if Mbogo ups his game, nothing can stop Mak this time around.

Well, expect another seesaw tomorrow when what in my opinion is this year’s most exceptional side, Africa Nazarene University of Kenya, takes on Ghana’s University for Development Studies –the very team that knocked out defending champions, Ibadan University. Catch the exciting 30-minute academic quiz on NTV at 8:30 pm.

--Saturday Monitor,  May 1, 2010