On International Women’s Day, American Football Federation of Uganda (AFFU) launched Girls Flag Football at Trinity College Nabbingo as part of their initiative to promote and develop the variant of the game in the country as a Special Program.
AFFU intends to move to different schools (primary and secondary schools) around the country in the next weeks to introduce the variant of the game to students in a campaign dubbed “Flag In School.”
While speaking after the media clinic organized by AFFU on Friday at the American Center in Kampala, the federation’s President Steven George Okeng said that schools will provide a good stepping stone for the development of the game as a whole, which is just sprouting in the country.
“We hope to push the game, to develop it in several girls’ schools but also following the strategic development plan of the NFL. NFL has a projection to push Flag Football which has more safety and less contact when playing,” Okeng said.
“We are finalizing with our international body, International Federation of American Football (IFAF) through its development program to have a flag football league for schools, especially girls,” Okeng added.
Schools like St. Katherine SS, Bethany High School and Dr. Obote College Boroboro have already embraced the game while Nabisunsa Girls’ School, Gayaza High School and others are set to take up the variant of the sport.
To reduce costs, last year AFFU embarked on a new journey of manufacturing their own flag football belts as a federation to ensure that they can reach out to as many schools to introduce flag football as a Sport. Till now they have been able to produce Flag football belts on their own.
However, Okeng adds that the federation also has its eyes on the national team which last had an engagement in November last year during the Africa Zone Series held in Kampala.
Meanwhile, the media clinic was facilitated by former football player and coach George Cornick, who also works with the U.S Embassy in Kampala and American sports journalist Greg Presto, plus local coach Shudi Mpanga.
The training covered basics of the game including its rules and how it is played. The initiative was aimed at equiping local sports journalist with knowledge and information about the game in a bid to report from an informed stand.
The media clinic happened a few months after NFL Coach Jeremiah Washburn from the Philadelphia Eagles conducted a football workshop at the American Center in Kampala. He also held basic drills with a group of players at the Henry Sports Center’s astro turf in Kabalagala, Kampala.
However, flag football is a variant of American football where, instead of tackling players to the ground, the defensive team must remove a flag or flag belt from the ball carrier (“deflagging”) to end a down. The sport has a strong amateur following with several national and international competitions each year sponsored by various associations but is most popularly played in America where it was invented.
In flag football, contact is limited between players. The international governing body for the sport is the International Federation of American Football (IFAF). In 2022, flag football was shortlisted as a proposed discretionary event for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles
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