Weatherhead midfielder Timothy Ntumba has been one of the most outstanding players in Uganda’s hockey scene.
In the previous men’s national league, Ntumba finished the season as joint top scorer with 23 goals, alongside his then team-mate and coach player Vincent Arnold Kasasa.
With Uganda Hockey currently preparing for the Northeast Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Hockey Qualifiers slated for 1st – 7th March 2021 in Nairobi, Kenya, Ntumba is in the men’s national provisional squad while Kasasa is men’s assistant coach.
Ahead of the Nairobi showpiece, both Uganda’s men and women’s teams are currently training at the National Hockey Stadium in Lugogo but Ntumba is upbeat ahead of the event proper.
“Honestly the training has been fine and I feel I’m improving everyday. I have learnt much from Coach Kasasa since we started the training this year and the entire team is just fine,” Ntumba noted in an exclusive interview, adding that; “Yes, I believe I will make it to the final team.”
The men’s teams at the qulaifiers will be hosts Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, Burundi and Seychelles while women’s teams will be Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Egypt, Burundi, Seychelles.
With two teams from each pool set to qualify for the Hockey AFCON that will be played around September 2021 in a yet to be named venue, Ntumba is optimistic that his side will make the cut though Kenya is likely to cause havoc at their own backyard.
“I have been playing against Kenyans since I started hockey and I believe they will be the toughest opponents. I have also played against Tanzanians especially in my High School days at the East African games and I believe we shall overcome their national team in Nairobi,” Ntumba revealed.
Albeit the Kenya threat, Ntumba is optimistic that if his side stay focused, they can wreck havoc in the pecking order.
“Well, we can become the overall winners if we put in the work.
And as a player I want to be that outstanding player that will help Uganda win the qualifiers and also play hard so that I get professional opportunities as you know Innocent Mbabali has done a good thing to market Ugandan talents in Italy,” Ntumba added.
Uganda’s final teams will be named prior to travel date (26th February 2021). Only 18 players per category plus officials will travel.
Men’s Provisional Team:
1. Alfred Agaba 2. Ashraf Tumwesigye 3. Bosco Ochan 4. Brian Bayule 5. Brian Okodi 6. Charles Ekapolon 7. Colline Batusa 8. Emmanuel Isiyagi 9. Innocent Raskara 9. Lamula Nakajjumba 10. Jerome Owori 11. Jordan Mpiima 12. Julius Sseruyange 13. Martin Okello 14. Maxwell Mugisha 15. Moses Tushabe 16. Peter Elolu 17. Peter Walusansa 18. Richard Kaijuka 19. Richard Ssemwogerere 20. Solomon Mutalya 21. Stuart Kavuma 22. Thomas Opio 23. Timothy Ntumba 24. Topher Kyamanywa 25. William Okecha
Women’s Provisional Team:
1. Aisha Kagere 2. Annet Namuwonge 3. Consolate Muber 4. Doreen Asiimwe 5. Esther Chelimo 6. Jackie Namyalo 7. Joan Mukoya 8. Joy Mutoni 9. Lamula Nakajjumba 10. Lucky Akello 11. Margaret Nassiwa 12. Mbabazi Doreen Aciro 13. Norah Alum 14. Pauline Achom 15. Peace Makhoha 16. Shakira Namboozo 17. Siddy Alum 18. Susan Khainza 19. Syliva Giramia 20. Sylvia Oryaro 21. Teddy Aciro 22. Teopista Anyango 23. Winnie Atim 24. Winnie Alaro
Team Manager, Men: Kenneth Tamale
Team Manager, Women: Fatuma Namubiru
Head Coach: Francesco Richichi
Asst Head Coach: Vincent Arnold Kasasa and Sandra Namusoke
Goal keeping Coach: Antonio Spignolo
Asst. Goal keeping Coach: Byron Matovu
Team Doctor: Dr. Emmanuel Ewochu
Physiotherapist: Sadik Muhammad Akii