Fancy dribbling and flashy passes get pretty common when teenager Fildauce Namulema, a St Noa Girls SS diminutive player gets on the basketball court.
Her exciting chest and bounce passes, crossovers, alley-oops and other highlight-reel-worthy plays excited the crowd at Mbale SS during this year’s Fresh Dairy secondary schools games.
Basketball fans mostly enjoy players fly through the air and defy gravity, but seeing the diminutive player dupe out other players, display panache and unrelenting flair on the court, makes your jaw drop while filling your memory bank with plays you never, ever want to forget.
Namulema’s silky-smooth jump shot and fantastic ability to fake out and drive past defenders made the diminutive speedy guard the most exciting to watch and fans could not take eyes off the best ball-handler of the 2019 schools basketball championship at Mbale SS.
She is capable of twisting up any defender blowing on her way to the basket with tremendous thrilling flair. If you looked up “creativity with a basketball,” Namulema’s name comes nearby in terms of dribbling and passing, along with number of jaw-dropping plays.
In an exclusive interview with during the Fresh Dairy-sponsored games, Namulema revealed that her wish is to play for JKL Dolphine –a FUBA NBL side coached by her ‘favorite’ coach Henry Malinga.
Despite mysteriously missing out on the Most valuable player (MVP) award in Mbale (won by Sandra Nambirige of St Mary’s SS-Kitende), Namulema remains buoyed that at one time she will be the shining star at the national team and also achieve her target of featuring for a foreign professional club.
Born to Mary Nakalema and Mohammed Mutagubya of Kanyanya in a family of 5 (2 girl and 3 boys), Namulema started her sports life as a footballer before venturing into netball and thereafter basketball that she priotises currently. Her mum was a netballer while dad was a footballer albeit not playing at the highest level.
“I started playing football as early as P1 and later joined KJT academy. I have studied on sports scholarships all through as a netballer, footballer and basket player respectively,” revealed Namulema, who studied her primary at Nakivubo Blue before joining Fairway primary school, Wakiso for P7.
She joined Lubiri SS and Kibuli SS respectively on netball bursary till S.4 before joining current school St Noa Girls on basketball scholarship.
The S.5 student has been voted the MVP in all the tournaments she has partaken this year save for Fresh Dairy games. She was named the best for Jovoc Open in Mbarara, All Stars at Seeta High and Women’s Day Cup at YMCA. St Noa Girls came atop in all the three tournaments. Namulema was also the MVP in Wakiso district qualifiers and she gives back the praise to her school coach Edward Ssendikadiwa.
Asked about her performance in the Fresh Dairy games in Mbale, the shooting cum point guard was contented with her performance and was happy that the crowds cheered her whenever she got hands on the ball.
“I have played basketball for three years and by S.4, I was summoned to the U18. I was playing football as a winger and netball as a center before basketball. I think football is more complex than basketball and injuries are common. I love what I do and consider discipline to be paramount to my career. I want to work harder to secure summons to the U19, U23 and senior national team –God willing,” noted Namulema, who is yet to have a club to play for despite fancying JKL Dolphines where her idol Jamila ‘Zama’ Nansikombi plays from.
“She (Jamila) is contented and relaxed with the ball and shoots well. I also like Coach Henry Malinga; he was my coach at Kibuli SS and I also like JKL skilled players,” she confessed.
The youngster believes that this is her best year (2019) in basketball. She urged short and small players to stay focused because it is all about aggressiveness, focus and determination to achieve.
“My coaches and mum have encouraged me to go for it and I want to thank them much. I know with discipline, determination and hard work, I will achieve my career dreams,” noted Namulema.
Meanwhile, St Mary’s SS-Kitende Dr. Lawrence Mulindwa says that the level of competition and talent exhibited in the schools basketball this year in Mbale is far higher than four years ago.
“Schools have invested in the games and sports and can now compete at regional level. When the sport grows in schools, the national teams can be sure of continuity. As Kitende, we have developed many talents since our inception in 2001 and we shall continue to do so,” he said.
St. Noa Girls finished second at the 2019 Fresh Dairy games Girls basketball at Mbale SS this month and will, alongside champions St Mary’s SS-Kitende, represent the country at this year’s East African secondary schools games due August in Arusha, Tanzania.