Youth Hockey in Uganda
Uganda has been among the few lucky nations to receive artificial turf after losing the previous 2 offers. This time the government together with some business tycoons in Uganda put funds together to see that we also get a surface that will enable Ugandans feel some how at par with the rest of the world.
This turf will help a lot improve on hockey in Uganda because of the many foreigners in Uganda who come from other countries & play hockey but could not due to the poor nature of the murram pitch we had earlier & it's the only field we have in the whole city. So the turf will give us more interest in talking to these foreign people like the Asians.
It will now be easier for me to even organise international events together with the Association especially youth programmes where we can invite teams from abroad to come & play with our youths in Uganda as part of the exchange programme.
And of course the synthetic pitch will also help our “locals” to improve their hockey standard.
We also received second hand sticks from JUST HOCKEY NEW ZEALAND. These sticks were later given out to three coaches (Patrick Yoacel, Alberto Unjima and Sebunya Yusuf). These guys are the only ones with whom I have been working to see that young players from primary & secondary schools gain more knowledge in the game. They are also running the development committee of the Association.
40 sticks were also given to individuals of the winners & runners up of the mini hockey league. Now the three coaches got 21 sticks each to facilitate their coaching since they had to share about 30 sticks that were available for coaching. DHL WORLDWIDE sponsored the shipment of the equipment to Uganda & the Director in Uganda handed over the sticks to each coach among the three while the Chairman Uganda hockey Ass. presented the best players each with a stick.
Among other events, Uganda has also received a 6000US$ grant from FIH which is inform of equipment. This will greatly be used to develop hockey all over Uganda in the next 2 to 3 years. We shall be able to see that Clubs increase together with higher institutions of learning country wide. We are also expecting some second hand equipment from Australia & Wales & Holland any time. This has been done through the youth promoters who are using this as an interrelationship build up between Uganda & developed other hockey playing nations.
We had our 4th edition of the primary schools mini hockey league. The tournament attracted 18 schools in the categories of U-10,U-12,U-14 & the GIRLS group. I directed this tournament which run for 4 week ends from 9:00am to 1:00Pm each Saturday. Over 600 Kids participated & 4 new schools joined the tournament. The games showed me that the game is growing not only in number but the quality of play improved a lot since the kids were able to pass, attack & defend easily. Goal margins were averaged to 2-1 or draws mainly.
Uganda will be sending a national squad to NAIROBI on the 30th April to 4th May. The team is currently on a non residential training & it has attracted mainly young stars below 23 years. I personally have decided to pull out of the squad to allow me organise the MARATHON & also attend the Meeting on 3rd. But I will play when the KENYANS come to Uganda after two weeks.
Currently the biggest event to take off is the Easter cup which kicks off this Saturday to Monday. It has attracted teams from Kenya & this is alos the first tournament of the year. The league will also start on 26th April, which has attracted 5 men's clubs 3 Ladies clubs. My club Wanainchi are the defending champs. This year the winner of the league will represent Uganda at the AFRICA CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS next year.
The major up coming event that seems to interest many is the MARATHON. I intend to call all youths playing hockey both in clubs & secondary schools to participate. As an exchange, we want to have our U-14 & U-12 players both boys & girls play among older players & youths from clubs. This will enable the young ones share & learn from the elders. This will also apply to the Girls & ladies teams from clubs. There will be a cash prize for the winning teams. In Uganda, most of our youths don't have access to playing in clubs due to studies & they only play in their school teams.
With the many programmes set for youths this year, I greatly believe that we shall create a difference in their lives.
PATRICK YOACEL, Youth Hockey Promoter Uganda