Uganda men’s national hockey team duo of Timothy Ntumba and Ashraf Tumwesigye recently moved to Italian Serie B (2nd division) outfit Galatea Hockey Club on a one-year deal.
The duo, now semi-professional players have been conducting drills with their new team mates since the beginning of this week and could be tested this Sunday when their side engages in a pre-season friendly match against PGS DON BOSCO 2000 RSD.
The duo who recently played for local side Weatherhead, a Uganda National Hockey League outfit have seemingly acclamatized to conditions in Catania, Italy and are revved up for action as they seek to pursue a career as professional players.
“The environment in Italy is fine right now and we have been welcomed by our new teammates,” Ntumba an attacking midfielder and a ‘goal machine’ said on Friday adding that; “the move Galatea is beneficial to me because it will help in the development of my career.”
Ntumba who says he’s already made a big network in Italy now aims to help take his side to the next division once the season hits off.
For Tumwesigye who has been a close friend to Ntumba back here in Uganda, the central midfielder too delights in the recent upgrade in his career and aims to utilize his chance.
“Life is great, the experience is awesome,” Tumwesigye revealed adding that; “my move to Italy means the start of God-unending wealth to me, I have high-end targets, I want to expand my hockey knowledge and to live an awesome life thereafter.”
Ntumba played for Weatherhead from 2012-13, Wananchi in 2013, Kampala Hockey Club from 2014-17, before returning to Weatherhead, all local clubs. In the previous league, he was joint top scorer with 24 goals, alongside his coach and team mate then, Vincent Arnold Kasasa.
For Tumwesigye, he has largely played for Weatherhead at club level and has been a very important player to the side.
Ntumba and Tumwesigye were in Uganda’s team that dominated Kenya in the FIH ratified test matches held earlier this year at Sikh Union Club in Nairobi. Uganda and Kenya drew 1-1 in the opening match but the former won the remaining two games 1-0 and 2-0 respectively.
The duo will also be looked up to when Uganda travels to Accra, Ghana for the Africa Cup of Nations (ACN) slated for January 2022.
Meanwhile, other Ugandans currently playing in Italy are; Innocent Mbabali and Emmanuel Baguma who play for Italian Championship side (Serie A1 – top tier), Hockey Team Bologna and National Division One (Serie A2) outfit Hockey Club Pistoia respectively.
Other Ugandan players plying their trade outside the country are; Derrick Akuwa – Netherlands and Emma Okema, David Onenchan and Thomas Kamau, all based in Tanzania plus Denis Okende who is in Kenya.