March has been such a significant month for Uganda hockey, both on and off the turf with the fraternity registering great developments in a space of just 10 days.
On the turf, the national sides (men and women) took part in the FIH ratified test matches/series against their Kenyan counterparts between 18th to 21sh March 2021 at Sikh Union Club in Nairobi while administratively, local hockey governing body Uganda Hockey Association (UHA) held an elective Annual General Meeting on Saturday, 27th March at Lugogo Sports Complex, Kampala.
To start with the test series, Uganda men’s side dominated their Kenyan counterparts winning two of their three games and registering one draw in the process (1-1, 1-0 and 2-0 respectively). However, Kenya women’s side won all their matches (11-00, 6-0 and 5-0 respectively) against Uganda but there is more to the series than just scorelines.
After the Nairobi event, Ugandan national teams (men and women) attained the FIH Men’s and Women’s World Ranking. Before the current one, Uganda last had an international ranking in 2007 when the senior men’s team had an engagement – the 2008 Olympic qualifiers.
Ugandan national sides become the latest teams to attain global ranking, though they are both at the bottom of their respective categories.
Uganda men’s team is ranked 91st globally with 126.013 points while the women’s team is ranked 76th with 77.359 points.
Meanwhile, after a long period of testing, a new World Ranking model took effect from January 1, 2020 after approval by the FIH Executive Board but Ugandan sides got theirs recently.
Moving away from the previous tournament based ranking system, this new match based system involves an exchange of points between the two teams competing in each match played. The number of points exchanged depends on the result of the match, the relative ranking of the teams and the importance of the match.
Uganda Hockey Association (UHA) General Secretary, Stanley Tamale who is also an umpire and has been around the national sides for a while now narrates that the ranking is a huge boost for the game here in Uganda.
“It means immense footing to move forward. It becomes easier to lobby both locally and internationally. It’s also motivation for the players and technical teams to work harder to move up the rankings,” Tamale said.
On administrative grounds, Uganda Hockey elective AGM saw Philip Wafula takeover from Lydia Gloria Dhamuzungu as new Chairperson.
Wafula who has been the Uganda Hockey General Secretary got nine votes while Dhamuzungu who has been incumbent got three. 12 delegates from six clubs casted their votes in an election that was decided by an open ballot.
Among other objectives, Wafula now seeks to bridge the gap between clubs that he says has been in existence for sometime now.
“Interestinngly, me and Lydia come from the same club (Weatherhead) but I was nominated by other teams that do not belong to me. I now want to bridge the gap between clubs and make sure we are one family,” Wafula said.
Wafula also aims to ‘sit down’ with his new team and spell out both short and long term plans for the game with domestic competitive play still at a halt for over a year now due to COVID-19 disruptions.
“We must have a focus. Our target is not only Africa Cup of Nations (ACN) that will be held in Ghana next year but other engagements as well. We must have a focus; where do we want to see hockey in the immediate, medium and long term?,”
“We shall also work on grass roots development and as well take hockey beyond Kampala,” Wafula added saying that as away of reinstating competitive play, UHA will invent a mini league that will involve schools but domestic competitions will be reinstated as well.
In the other races, former Publicity Secretary Joshua Opolot got nine votes to claim the position of Vice Chairperson. Incumbent Michael Nashimolo got no votes while Fatumah Namubiru had three.
Stanley Tamale who has been Assistant General Secretary is now Secretary General himself after getting eight votes against Joseph Kamin who had four.
Kenneth Tamale (10 votes) won in the treasurer race, Richard Ssemwogerere (eight votes) is new Organizing Secretary while Saddam Hussein (eight votes) is new Publicity Secretary.
Innocent Raskara, Martin Okello and Bridget Baine are new committee members. They were all unopposed.
However, the new Uganda Hockey leadership has also one lady, Bridget Baine who is a committee member and possibly cannot make executive decisions. This has forced critics to ring the gender balance bells.
Only three women had contested for elective positions but only Baine who was unopposed alongside two men went through. Incumbent Chairperson Dhamuzungu was voted out while Namubiru who was once a committee member had her attempt for Vice Chairperson position fall through.
New Uganda Hockey Executive Committee
–Philip Wafula Mulindo
1. Innocent Raskara
2. Martin Okello
3. Bridget Baine
How Delegates Voted:
1. Lydia Gloria Dhamuzungu – 3
2. Philip Wafula Mulindo – 9
1. Joshua Opolot – 9
2. Fatumah Namubiru – 3
3. Michael Nashimolo – 0
1. Joseph Kamin – 4
2. Stanley Tamale – 8
1. Kenneth Tamale – 10
2. Gerald Aquino Ssesaazi – 2
1. Richard Ssemwogerere – 8
2. Daniel Kyaligonza – 4
1. Saddam Hussein – 8
2. Moses Tushabe – 4
*Committee Members (Unopposed)
1. Innocent Raskara
2. Martin Okello
3. Bridget Baine