Albeit the reinstation of sports activities in September this year after a six-month hiatus due to Covid-19, most federations/associations/unions are yet to witness return of competitive play with some throwing in the towel and deciding to shift focus to next year.
With the high cost of running events in the post-lockdown age hindering a quick return of sports activities, most local sports governing bodies have resorted to organizing short format tournaments to engage players and fans.
For the case of hockey, the Uganda Hockey Association (UHA) is hoping to cap the year with one competitive event in the shape of the Uganda Cup Tournament that will be played at the National Hockey Stadium in Lugogo, possibly towards the end of November or in early December.
“Relevant authorities have been engaged to see to it that we hold Uganda Cup. However, the approval process is taking too long but we are still hopeful,” UHA Assistant General Secretary Stanley Tamale said after the association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) held over the weekend at the Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) complex in Lugogo.
“Some teams can process Covid-19 tests but the major challenge now is approval of the event. We also have Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to use on match days and National Council of Sports (NCS) also gave us some support in preparation for the tournament,” Tamale added.
Initially, Uganda Cup was meant to be open to all clubs/teams/institutions registered under the association, open to both men and women. However, Tamale says that the tournament will now be played by only National League teams due to need to save time, necessary costs and also that league sides will provide good competition in a short period and short format event.
The event that was initially meant to be played for a period of about 2-4 months will now be played in a much shorter period and format because of the tight and costly guidelines tied around return of sports notably; cost of testing athletes, cost of bubbles and other PPEs.
Uganda Cup is one of the events UHA prioritized after it cancelled its leagues in the event of a continuous ban on sports activities.
After Uganda Cup, Uganda Hockey will fully shift its focus to Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers slated for January 2021 in Nairobi, Kenya. The national teams will be summoned to training later this month in preparation for the Nairobi event.