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Oilers greats Enabu, Okello depart under a thick cloud

Jimmy Enabu in action for City Oilers earlier

Jimmy Enabu in action for City Oilers earlier

Jimmy Enabu, James Okello and the City Oilers were supposed to be a team made in heaven.

All three parties have won nine rings in a row in the National Basketball League and their place in the annals of the game is etched in stone. Enabu and Okello have been the true embodiment of Oilers ball. They have been loyal to a fault, dedicated, committed and hungry. Without Enabu and Okello, it is unlikely that Oilers would have been the organization they are today.

Likewise, the reverse is true. Oilers provided Enabu and Okello with the right environment and pieces to thrive into accomplished Silverbacks basketballers. It is under Oilers that Enabu and Okello would be automatic first-round pick hall of famers if Fuba had such an arrangement to honour its distinguished greats.

It is against that backdrop that last week’s unexpected departure of the two from Oilers raises many questions and few answers. The manner in which the duo’s departure was communicated told of a marriage that had reached irreconcilable differences.

Sources The Observer has spoken to revealed that Enabu and Okello have harboured frustrations in the Oilers that stemmed mostly from the preferential wages offered to foreign basketballers who are usually hired for BAL tournaments.

It is understood that Enabu and Okello felt that their years of loyalty to the organization had not been appreciated enough. The two took umbrage to foreign basketballers receiving huge payments, unlike them (Enabu and Okello) who have played a role in building the Oilers dynasty of today.

Oilers’ management, on their part, are said to have been of the view that they had honoured their side of the bargain in growing the careers of both players thus far. The Oilers indeed did pay tuition fees for Okello when he was still in school.

For some time, cracks had reportedly emerged between the club’s management and Okello and Enabu, who are the team’s two captains and remaining survivors from the Oilers side that won its first title in 2014.

But what prompted the sudden end to the relationship of the players and the organization was when the two received some lucrative contracts from clubs in Burundi and Rwanda that were ‘too good to turn down’, according to an impeccable source.

Furthermore, Enabu and Okello approached Oilers’ management with a looming deadline for the said contracts and a decision had to be made that favoured the interests of both parties.

That is how Enabu and Okello ended their historic years on the Oilers roster in a blink of an eye. It was not the sort of ending both parties would have wished for after a decade of terrific domination by both club and players.

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