Former national basketball champions Riham Warriors have lost 7ft 2in Sam Gombya arguably the league’s most improved player to Kansanga based Kampala International University (K.I.U) Titans Red Pepper Online Sport can exclusively reveal.
We can confirm Gombya now a Team Uganda regular has already exercised his ‘free agency’ and put pen to paper at KIU as the center did turn up for two weeks of practice at Warriors and instead he’s turning up for practice at KIU who he is playing for at the ongoing UCU Open.
Gombya who in his early days of the game suffered with a lack of confidence has grown into a respected man mountain both offensively and defensively and he’d become a pillar in this Warriors’ side. It’s no secret that KIU has always had interest in Gombya especially through technical assistant Henry Mwinuka. In fact, a few years back, it is said that Mwinuka wanted to work with Gombya to see that he can play professionally because he’s size gifted. Mwinuka worked with Hasheem Thabeet who ended up in the NBA according to basketball256.
In 2004, basketball coach Peter Mubanda met Gombya in Kampala and could only use his driver to translate for Gombya what he said in Luganda. Gombya had no command of the English Language then. But for his height, he was viewed as an asset to the game so he was convinced to do trials at Sadolin Power.
Gombya says he didn’t know anything about basketball but Mubanda couldn’t take no for an answer so he tried his luck. But Elliot Bagenda, a former Power player told The Weekly Observer: “After two trial sessions he disappeared.” Gombya says that he didn’t have the money to travel from Kyengera daily to train so he quit. But Mubanda wasn’t about to give in. He linked Gombya to Edmund Lumu the coach of Lubiri High. In 2006 he played his one game for Lubiri against KCC Lions but in 2007, he didn’t play because the team wasn’t registered to compete in the league. So Gombya was taken to Tanzania for a four-week basketball clinic by his mentor Henry Mwinuka of KIU and like Gombya puts it, made him believe he could do it. Apart from going to Tanzania in October 2008 for another basketball clinic to improve his ball-handling skills, he didn’t play for any team.
Although he can string a few English sentences now, it’s clear he doesn’t have any notable academic background. All said Gombya’s big size will stir any opposition because two must mark him hence leaving gaps for our team to exploit.