Uganda Hockey Cranes (men’s senior national hockey team) coach Vincent Arnold Kasasa says that they have a ready team eager to compete and win matches at the Africa Cup of Nations (ACN) slated for January 17-23 at the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium in Accra, Ghana.
Uganda Hockey recently named squads (men and women) comprising of 18 traveling players and five reserves each for the forthcoming nations meet and Kasasa says that his charges (men’s team), ranked 91st globally are ready for the tournament.
“I am sure right now we have a ready team that is capable of winning games,” Kasasa said in a recent interview adding that; “we are having a very good squad, very disciplined, very hard working, very speedy so I expect us to put up a very good challenge.”
Uganda men’s side are seeded in Pool B alongside hosts Ghana, Egypt and Nigeria, a group of death according to Kasasa who’s however confident that his side is ready to disrupt the pre-tournament pecking order.
“We play our opening match against Ghana but the pressure is on them (Ghana) so we’re expecting nothing but a win,” a confident said adding that they will put up a fight in every match.
For about two months now, Ugandan sides have been training at the National Hockey Stadium, Lugogo ahead of the Accra do and Kasasa says that the boys have been adapting well.
“The training has been going on smoothly. We have worked on a number of drills including endurance, decision making, speed and how to defend as a team,” Kasasa noted adding that it was through training that they were able to pick the final team though factors like fitness levels, experience, aggressiveness and maturity were considered.
Head Coach (Men & Women), Francesco Richichi has joined the camp and his arrival is a huge boost for both the men’s and women’s team and according to Kasasa, there’s always something to learn from a foreign coach and both local coaches and players will benefit.
South African coach Shaun Laubscher, trained both Ugandan teams (men and women) for two weeks leading to November 26 and Kasasa admits that the tactician helped both the sides to fine-tune for the Ghana do.
“He helped us to improve on defending penalty corners, gave us drills on speed which we have been using and the team is now faster in the way they’re playing,” Kasasa said adding that Laubscher also gave them some equipment.
With the event edging closer, Kasasa says that they are finalizing on their starting XI and also master the positions for each player, plus ensuring that the players on the bench know their roles. Captains will be named soon.
Italy-based duo of Timothy Ntumba and Ashraf Tumwesigye who play for Italian Serie B (Second Division) outfit Galatea Hockey Club have joined the camp and Kasasa is hoping that the entire team benefits from their experience, adding that the team will compete and make Uganda proud.
The Final Squads:
Alfred Agaba, Ashraf Tumwesigye, Bosco Ochan, Brian Bayuule, Brian Okodi, Collines Batusa, Emmanuel Baguma, Jordan Mpiima, Martin Okello, Maxwell Mugisha, Moses Tushabe, Peter Walusansa, Richard Kaijuka, Richard Ssemwogerere, Solomon Mutalya, Stuart Kavuma, Thomas Opio and Tiimothy Ntumba.
Aisha Kagere, Consolate Muber, Doreen Asiimwe, Doreen Mbabazi, Jolly Alimo, Joy Sserunjogi, Paula Kibwika, Pauline Korukundo, Lamulah Nakajjumba, Lucky Akello, Margaret Nassiwa, Naume Makila, Norah Alum, Susan Ayomirowth, Sylvia Giramiya, Teopista Anyango, Thuwaibah Kiggundu and Winnie Alaro.
Charles Ekapolon, Brian Ofoyimungu, James Mugisha, Mathias Akanyihayo and Shafik Byamukama
Angella Nakintu, Irene Nyapendi, Pauline Achom, Shakirah Nambooze and Vero Atima.
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.