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“We shall compete, not just participate,” says Nsereko ahead of Hockey Africa Cup of Nations

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Uganda women's team provisional squad training at the National Hockey Stadium, Lugogo recently.

The Uganda women’s senior national hockey team will make their Africa Cup of Nations (ACN) debut during the 2022 staging slated for January 17-23 at the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium in Accra, Ghana.

Uganda are seeded in women’s Pool A alongside the winners of the previous seven editions South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Hosts Ghana are in Pool B alongside Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia.

Moses Nsereko, the Uganda women’s national team coach says that his side will travel to Ghana not to just participate, but rather compete and strive for good results at the continental showpiece.

Women’s national team Coach Moses Nsereko (right) speaks to his charges recently.

“For us we shall go and compete, not just participate. I also want the players to have fun but the prime objective is to compete. I really can’t wait though I believe it will be a tough tournament,” Nsereko said.

Uganda women’s side who are ranked 76th globally will play the first match of the tournament when they come up against Namibia on Monday, 17th January. They (Uganda women) will face their Zimbabwean counterparts the next day before resting on Wednesday and later take on South Africa on Thursday.

“I think it’s advantageous for us to start against Namibia and Zimbabwe because those matches will help us prepare for South Africa. We expect to get good results in the first two games and see what happens against South Africa,” Nsereko noted adding that playing against title holders is actually a good test for the side.

Women’s team players going through drills recently. The training has been going on for over a month now.

“I can imagine everyone fears South Africa because they have won the tournament in the previous seven editions but for me I think it’s a blessing having them in our pool because if you want to be the best then you have to play the best,” Nsereko said.

South African coach Shaun Laubscher, trained both Ugandan teams (men and women) for two weeks leading to November 26 and Nsereko admits that the tactician helped both the men and women to fine-tune for the Ghana do.

South African coach Shaun Laubscher taking goal keepers through drills in November.

“He was really helpful as he helped us with fitness, game approach, goal keeping and other game basics. Both the coaches and players learnt a lot from him,” Nsereko revealed.

Ugandan sides have been training for over a month now at the National Hockey Stadium, Lugogo. Nsereko says that the girls have been adapting well and have improved a lot.

“The training has been moving on well. Our fitness has picked up because we have worked on it, including other basics, game structure, set pieces and also team chemistry,”

The Ugandan sides have been trimmed from the initial 50-per team that were called up for training. There are also new faces especially in the women’s team from the squad that traveled to Nairobi earlier this year for the FIH sanctioned test series matches.

National women’s team charges in a training session recently.

The final traveling squads and reserves will be named soon and the sides will enter a bio-bubble earlier in January before embarking on a sojourn to Accra.

Uganda’s Technical Bench for ACN
1. Team Manager (Men) – Byron Matovu
2. Team Manager (Women) – Bridget Baine
3. Head Coach (Men & Women) – Francesco Richichi
4. National Team Coach (Men) – Vincent Kasasa
5. National Team Coach (Women) – Moses Nsereko
6. Goalkeeping Coach – Antonio Spignolo
7. Asst. Goalkeeping Coach – Dulf Musoke
8. Team Doctor – Emma Ewochu
9. Physiotherapist – Massimiliano Paolotroni
10. Asst. Physiotherapist – Sadik Akii.

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