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City Oilers (UGANDA)


The City Oilers are a Ugandan basketball team that competes in the top-flight National Basketball League (NBL). Based in the capital Kampala, the Oilers were founded in 2011 and made their competitive debut in the FUBA third division the same year. The Oilers are the most successful club in NBL history, having won a record eight titles, in addition to lifting the 2016 and 2017 FIBA Africa Zone V Clubs championships. The Oilers finished ninth on their FIBA Africa Clubs Champions Cup debut in 2016 before rising to fifth at the 2017 edition. The Oilers qualified for the Basketball Africa League for the first time in 2022, and will compete in the 2023 edition as part of the Nile Conference. The Oilers have won all 24 of their NBL playoff series, five of which were settled in a decider.

Having secured qualification to the NBL in 2013, the Oilers became instant title contenders after acquiring guard Jimmy Enabu from league rivals Power and Rwanda star Kami Kabange from Rwandan club Espoir. Enabu and Kabange became the most prolific duo in the league, inspiring the Oilers to four straight NBL championships and the 2016 FIBA Africa Zone V Clubs championships. Kabange twice claimed NBL MVP honors before joining Rwandan giants REG in 2017. Enabu and Landry Ndikumuma emerged as the next Oilers’ big two, with James Okello, Tony Drileba, Stephen Omony and Ben Komakech making notable contributions to the Oilers next three championships. Following the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 seasons because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oilers claimed the 2022 championship, after defeating the Namuwongo Blazers 4-3 in the NBL Finals, even though Enabu suffered a hamstring injury in Game 4 and missed the next two games before making a heroic return for Game 7, though he was clearly still hurt.

The Oilers’ dominance has been characterized by administrative and roster stability, with Mandy Juruni maintaining the head coaching position since 2012. Enabu and Okello have been part of the Oilers for the club’s entire NBL tenure, while Ben Komakech, Drileba, and Ivan Muhwezi have been part of the roster for the last nine, eight and six years respectively. Under the management of club chairman Mohammed Santur and director Ahmed Hassan, the Oilers have been the model of success on court and managerial effectiveness off it. The City Oilers are supported by the Mandela Group of Companies and are named after its oil franchise City Oil.

Although the Oilers are unbeaten in the NBL playoffs, they have enjoyed rivalries with Power, the UCU Canons, KIU Titans, Falcons, Warriors and Namuwongo. The fiercest has been with five-time NBL winners Power, whom the Oilers defeated on seven of their eight postseason trips. But the closest has been with the Canons, who have thrice taken the Oilers to a series decider, first in the 2015 playoff semifinals and later in the 2016 and 2019 Finals. The Falcons and Oilers 2013 Finals series and the 2022 Finals against Namuwongo also went to a decider. It means the Oilers have won all four of their Finals Game 7 deciders, with the 66-64 victory in the 2022 championship game against the Blazers being the closest.

The Oilers have also been a force in the FIBA Africa Zone V region, finishing third at the 2014 edition then runners up in 2015 before winning back-to-back honors in 2016 and 2017. As Zove V Champions, the Oilers debuted in the now defunct continental FIBA Africa Clubs Champions Cup debut in 2016, finishing ninth. In the following year, they finished fifth. In 2021, the Oilers missed out on qualification for the inaugural Basketball Africa League edition by one game, losing to Mozambique’s Ferroviário de Maputo 74–57 in the third-place playoff during the final qualification round of the Eastern Division. The Oilers would pull out of qualification for the 2022 edition due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2023 edition would bring the long-awaited breakthrough, as the Oilers progressed through the two-stage qualification process to book their ticket to the BAL Nile Conference, where they will face Egypt’s Al Ahly, South Africa’s Cape Town Tigers, Mozambique’s Ferroviário da Beira, Angola’s Petro de Luanda, and Guinea’s SLAC.


Winners (8): 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022

Basketball Africa League

  • First appearance (2023)