By Melissa Ahereza
Rose Akon, a Uganda Christian University (UCU) graduate with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance, testifies that she was able to complete her education at UCU on a full scholarship due to her participation in the university’s women’s basketball team, known as the UCU Lady Canons.
Akon claims that coach Nicholas Natuhereza, the UCU basketball team coach, scouted her after he watched her play at the tournament while she was still in high school, which is how she got on the squad.
“After watching me play, Coach Nicholas talked to my parents about my playing for UCU, and they agreed,” Akon said.
One of the challenges faced by students engaging in sports activities in academic institutions is balancing education with sports; however, Akon says that she didn’t face this challenge at all because she respected the timetables of these two activities.
“I had a different timetable for training and class; this allowed me to focus on one thing at a time, and at no moment did they ever clash,” Akon said.
As a sportswoman, Akon reveals that many people are biased about women’s sports because they consider it uninteresting; she adds that “actually where I come from, women don’t play sports,” she added.
Although women receive that kind of treatment in the sports field, Akon insists that she cannot have a life without basketball involved in it.
Regarding her future, Akon has basketball mentioned in most of her plans. She says that she is looking forward to playing more professional basketball, and she revealed that the team from Kigali, where she previously played basketball and was known as Reg Women BBC, has offered to take her in again. Akon also mentioned that there is a team from Morocco and another one from Georgia that have also offered to recruit her.
Akon says that she started playing basketball when she was 17 years old, while she was in her senior year. She mentions that she was introduced to the sport by coach Omondi from Tanzania. Her biggest inspiration is Elena Delle Donne, an American professional basketball player for the Washington Mystics of the Women’s National Basketball Association.
Akon believes that intense practice and training have elevated her career. She received MVP and defensive player of the finals honors for her outstanding performance in the 2022 NBA Playoff Championships.
She led the UCU Lady Canons to a 3-1 series win in the NBL Playoffs finals championship, beating the two-time defending champion JKL Dolphins.