When I first started playing basketball, the theme of my journey was based on a simple phrase, “Stay ready so that you don’t have to get ready every time my number is called up for battle.” I have been tried and tested numerous times. The most memorable moment was in 2014 during the FIBA zone V tournament. The games were in the coastal city of Kenya, Mombasa. My team, USIU, went up against KPA in the finals, and without a doubt, that was the turning point of my career. I had a great game and that was just the beginning.

Georgia Attacks Hellon Aketch of KPA in League Match

Coming from a great career in High-school basketball, one would assume it’d be smooth sailing in the top leagues, and it was for a while, until I realized that there are more experienced players who were better. Nothing was easy and the transition process from high school to the Premier League was hard. I responded by training harder with a never-give-up mentality and my game spoke for itself. All the hard work was showing in just how well i was playing, regardless of the playing time I was given. I have always been ready to give 110% due to my love for basketball.
In my basketball career, I have been blessed with the opportunity of playing alongside great players and one of them is Hilda Indasi. A powerhouse! A player who USIU depended on at the shooting guard position, which is the position I play. In USIU Flames, we had the ‘next man up’ mentality. One day Hilda called me to let me know that she won’t be available to play and I was next in line. I was excited and locked in at the same time. This was the first time I was going to get major minutes and a start. I didn’t have to change anything since am always ready for battle. All I needed to see was the ball going up during tip-off. Four minutes or forty, I was going to give just as much as I always do, and this was no exception. This was the game that would open up opportunities that I had no idea existed. During this tournament, I had built a name for myself. I was reliable and could be trusted and this earned me more playing time and a bigger stage to prove myself. I recall Hilda requesting that I get included in the starting lineup in the semifinals and finals of the FIBA Zone V. That was the little ray of sunshine I had been hoping for. All my efforts, the hard work, the patience, it was paying off and in a big way. I showed up and my game left the fans amazed. We won! We were the new Zone V Champions and I had played my part in it. I left my mark on the biggest stage of East African basketball.

Georgia Adhiambo (left) in action for Ubumwe BC in Kigali Rwanda. Photo courtesy Ferwaba

There was more. The Kenya National Team had already been assembled and I didn’t get that call. Due to my performance at the Zone V things changed. I was called to camp and I had the privilege of representing my country with the National Team in the Afrobasket qualifiers in Kampala, Uganda. The results didn’t go in our favor but this too was an important part of the grand scheme that has been my journey, especially for my confidence as a player. 
A fire in me lit up that made me play every game like it was my last. I had great confidence in my game. In 2015, I won the MVP title in the Kenya University Sports Association games. 2016 saw me play for the country again with the USIU team in the FIBA Africa Club  Championship Cup (ACC ) in Maputo , Mozambique, another bigger stage for me. I was ranked second in the individual game highs’ category for points scored! In that moment , I felt like a Phoenix rising from the ashes.I had worked so hard and it was all coming together! Now, people could see it and that validated all my efforts.

Georgia Adhiambo (right) in action for Ubumwe BC

2017 rolled in and I was now done with my campus days.I had every intention to make the National Team again, that meant more hard work for me. For the second time in my career, I made the team .I didn’t have the first time jitters, the excitement and the butterflies this time round. I saw it as a chance to maximise my efficiency for the generously allotted playing time and I did just that. A couple days later, I was called to play for Kenya Ports Authority and this is an opportunity I was very glad to take. We went through the season undefeated and won both the Kenya Basketball Federation League and the FIBA Zone V Championship. It’s at this time that I was approached by A1 Challenge Club from Uganda. My time to cross borders had arrived. This was a whole new experience for me, a chance to live up a new culture and a new level of basketball. I accepted the offer and was more than ready to have my hobby pay me professionally.

Georgia (7) in action for KPA at the FIBA women club championship. Photo courtesy FIBA

Most of 2018 was spent playing for the A1 Club but I  also took up a coaching course. Upon finishing the course I was honored to receive employment  from the Acacia International School as a Head Coach. This experience was quite enjoyable for me as we managed  to secure a total of three championship with the team, for me it was a huge deal being so young in the industry and winning big.
The move notwithstanding, a chance to play for Kenya was presented to me again, in the FIBA Afrobasket games in 2019. Frankly, nothing beats hearing your country’s national anthem in that arena before you play. It’s an intense mixture of pride, honor and humility and it takes every nerve in your body not to scream, “Hey look Mama, I made it“. After the tournament was over, I was back in Uganda to finish the league games. Unfortunately, we were eliminated in the playoff quarter finals, a first in my career. I saw it as a fitting piece in my puzzle, as it challenged me to want and expect more from myself and my career.

Georgia Adhiambo

Soon after this, the thought of possibilities in a new environment began to linger and there was apparent curiosity for what I had to look forward to and what was next . Around October and bare months afterwards, in January 2020 I got invited to the Ubumwe Basketball Club in Rwanda. A snowballing effect I could only thank God for. The response to their offer was apt, as in this space there was a chance to not only be a player but a mentor and a role model and this guaranteed positive growth in my work culture and professionalism in the sport and I was ready for it. Being part of it all has been very gratifying and in spite of current events , there’s a lot to look forward to in regards to the wonderful experience that Rwanda offers. Meanwhile, it is my aim to give back to this sport that has given me so much. I have been privileged to share my skill and the love of the game with so many people along the way. When it comes to this great sport, there is no stopping. In fact every time I get the opportunity to step on the court, it feels like I am just getting started. That’s the reason  I stay ready! Always.

By Ariel Okall


2 thoughts on “Letter To Myself; Georgia Adhiambo”
  1. Saw u playing against buru gals and knew u were going places and that certainly is what is happening

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